Rachael Maskell MP, with her hand stitched quilt square
Rachael Maskell MP, with her hand stitched quilt square

Rachael Maskell MP has submitted her contribution for the Parliamentary Covid Quilt to represent York Central during the pandemic. MPs were asked to sew a square to be added to a quilt to represent their constituency during Covid19. It was an incredibly challenging time for everyone. MPs were at the heart of picking up people’s concerns from the pandemic itself, the impact on businesses, the challenges across education and health, as well as being alongside people as they struggled with isolation caused by the lockdowns.

A quilt has been created to mark this period and many hours have gone into stitching the memories and thoughts of that time into a block to appear on the quilt. Rachael was determined to finish her block as a tribute to all those who lost their lives to the pandemic in York.

The rainbow background represent the NHS. Throughout the pandemic, rainbows appeared in windows to show support for our NHS and care staff who sacrificed so much for the people of York. The city scape has been stitched in black material as it was a dark time for people in York and it is a reminder of the services, businesses, visitor attractions and churches that closed. Most days, Rachael would take her allotted walk through the city centre noting its eerie silence and empty streets. It was a time to reflect on all that she was dealing with on behalf of constituents and to work out how to solve the problems people were seeking help with. The Yorkshire Rose, speaks for itself, as something that binds us together and can make us so proud of what people of our city achieved over this time. In particular, Rachael wants to thank all those who volunteered in York in providing meals, visiting people on their own and ensuring that people were safe.

Stitched into the quilt are the words “Just want to keep you safe”. This became Rachael’s motto and prayer throughout the pandemic. Having the first case of Covid in York, Rachael was determined that everything that could be done should be done to ensure that people were kept from this virus. She used her health knowledge and skills as a politician to meet regularly with Ministers and demand measures to help people in York. When the Council stopped people attending funerals she met with several Ministers to overturn their decision, but ensuring that people would be safe. She met weekly with the Director of Public Health to learn of her priorities and then went out across the city advocating for action, as she did in Parliament at every opportunity.

Whether businesses or the universities, schools and young people or charities and the elderly, Rachael and her staff were determined that their needs would be met.

The quilt is currently being assembled with blocks from MPs across the country.

Rachael Maskell MP, “My square for the Parliamentary Covid Quilt is in commemoration of all those who lost their lives from Covid19 in York. While Covid19 continues to blight our lives and we still must take precautions, including Hands-Face-Space, and take up our vaccines; thankfully the very worst is behind us. It was a very sobering time for us all, something I trust that we will never have to see the likes of again.

“I was determined to ensure that York was represented on the quilt and everyone who volunteered and gave in extraordinary ways, suffered and sacrificed were represented by this block. I am so proud of how our city came together to care for one another; this must be our legacy.

“I hope that this tribute will mean something for people across York and very much hope that people will be able to see the quilt when it is complete.”

Close up of  the square on behalf of York
Close up of the square on behalf of York
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