SGT Blaine Diddams, of the elite Swanbourne-based Special Air Services Regiment (SASR), was killed on July 2 while on his seventh tour of Afghanistan.
After news reached the Australian public of the death of SGT Diddams I started thinking about a quilt for his family. Was it appropriate for us to offer them one? Would it be of comfort to them? I felt the answer to both questions was "yes" but I needed to seek approval from "the powers that be", in this case, the Chaplains, as I felt that was the right thing to do.
At the same time I had a number of queries from other Aussie Hero Friends, asking if it were possible for us to make a quilt or quilts for the family. This included the wife of the Lovely Warrant Officer, who served in Afghanistan at the same time as SGT Diddams.
I finally got word back that the Chaplain has spoken with the widow, Toni-Ann, and she would be delighted with the offer. Toni-Ann (TA) has two children, Ellie-Lou (Lou Lou) 16 years old and Henry (Hens) who is 13 years old.
Incidentally this chaplain just so happens to have recently returned from Afghanistan himself and is one of our quilt recipients.
I spoke to that chaplain personally this morning and we have come up with a plan. He advised me that the family will be having a few days away, but that he will be seeing them on their return. He is going to ascertain for is if the children in particular have favourite colours to guide us and will keep you posted. In the meantime my plans are as follows:
There will be three quilts made, one for each family member. Judging by the response I have had so far I suspect that lots of you would like to contribute so this will operate similar to a BOM.
I am going to ask anyone who wants to contribute to send me three nine patch blocks - one for each member of the family. The blocks must be made using our February BOM tutorial. (A pdf version of the tutorial can be found here).
Once I receive the blocks I will separate them into the three quilts and will send them on to three quilters, Chris from SA, Alex from Sydney and Kelly from the Dandenongs in Victoria. They will be responsible for assembling and quilting the quilts.
You may send more than one block each if you like but I will only guarantee one block from each Friend will make it into each quilt unless we are short on numbers. If we get extra blocks I do have special plans for them but I don't want to go into them yet until I know a possibility is going to become a reality. Rest assured none of these 9 patches will go to waste and they will all be used to honour SGT Diddams.
It may take a couple of weeks to find out if the children have colour preferences and I will write another post as soon as I get that information. Watch this space as they say.
So there we are - these will be our first Fallen Warrior Quilts and we are privileged to be able to make them.