A COMMUNITY exhibition on Cumbrae that was delayed almost two years by the pandemic has finally opened on the island.

The Cumbrae branch of the Scottish Woman’s Institute has created the display at Garrison House to coincide with their 70th anniversary this year.

Items on show include 70 years of SWI memorabilia, blankets knitted during lockdown and other items which document and chart the island's remarkable journey through the pandemic.

President Mari Wallace says that the hold-up allowed the women to make the event bigger and better.

She explained: “Originally our exhibition was going to be celebrating Cumbrae’s coasts and waters, but due to the pandemic that didn’t happen.

“As it happens, the exhibition now coincides with our 70th anniversary so we thought we would include elements of that too.

“Luckily some of our former members had the foresight to pack up all our books and records and put them into the North Ayrshire Heritage Centre, and we have to thank the ladies there for their help.”

One of the highlights of the exhibition is set to be 30 blankets which were created by the community during lockdown, and Mari says these will become important signs of the times.

She said: “During the first lockdown we teamed up with the Millport Support Group to deliver wool and needles to residents.

“We looked to people who were lonely and home alone, hoping to create something would help them take their mind off what was going on.

“Residents knitted nearly 700 squares, and the women of the Cumbrae SWI sewed them together to make around 30 blankets.

“They really symbolise an important time for the island and we are hoping to have them all on display in the heritage centre in the Millport Town Hall when it is refurbished.”

Mari says there will be something for everyone at the exhibition and is encouraging residents and tourists to head along to the Garrison to check it out.

She said: “There is going to be a good mix of old and modern.

“As well as the blankets and history of the SWI, we’ve got poems from islanders, stones painted during the pandemic and lots of other interesting bits and pieces.

“Hopefully it will look great in the foyer of the Garrison, with all the knitting hanging from the spiral staircase.

“We will have a box for voluntary donations with all money going to Mercy Ships UK, which sails to the poorest parts of the world with doctors and health workers on board.”

The exhibition is on display in the foyer of Garrison House until October 31 during normal opening hours.

Branch meetings are held in the Age Concern Hall in the Garrison grounds at 7.30pm on the second Thursday of every month, starting from October 14.