By James Davies

Bude looks to celebrate one of their recently discovered local talents, Tony Rae, who starred in this year’s series of the BBC’s Great British Sewing Bee.

The Castle Bude have announced that they will be hosting an exhibition of the works of ‘Tony R’ during his time on the Great British Sewing Bee this year.

Tony R, works as a postman in Bude, however, this year, he wowed the nation with his unique sewing style, as part of the television competition.

Across the eight weeks on the show, Tony’s sewing skills were put to the test, from creating a children’s dragon dressing gown to tailoring a high-fashion outfit fit for the catwalk. However, with his sewing machine primed and patterns pinned, Tony flew through the competition, taking on every challenge which is thrown his way, making it all the way to this year’s final, which saw Asmaa crowned winner.

Speaking to the Post, Tony explained that entering this year’s competition was an opportunity to challenge himself.

He said: “I entered this year’s Great British Sewing Bee to challenge myself and hopefully learn more about making things.

“When you get into your fifties you do not come across many new experiences so I thought, let’s try this! Some of my work colleagues knew that I could make things as I was making masks during the pandemic and have altered the occasional bit of uniform for them, so they suggested I give it a go too.”

However, while Tony might not have taken first place, Bude’s community have rallied behind Tony and his 90’s inspired fashion.

“The support I have had from the community here in Bude has been brilliant,” said Tony. “I have felt that they have all been behind me. I have had so many kind comments whilst out and about, and it is extremely humbling.”

Now, locals have the chance to see some of Tony’s work in person.

The Castle Bude announced: “We have the pleasure of showcasing an exhibition of garments made by Tony during his time on The Great British Sewing Bee, from September 9 until October 6.

“Pop on over and see for yourself the extraordinary journey Tony has been on and the talent that he showed the nation in this exclusive exhibition in The Studio at The Castle Heritage Centre.”

Mark Berridge, manager of The Castle Heritage Centre said: “I think this is going to be amazing for the people of Bude to come and see some of the outfits he created on the show. It’s not often you get someone from your local community showcasing his creative talents and reaching the final on a well watched TV craft show.

“As a previous art and craft teacher, with a liking for wool and textiles, I think it is great to have his designs on show at The Castle. It also helps to dispel the myth and the stereotype that men ‘don’t do sewing’.”

Tony also believes that this is an opportunity to give back to the town and hopefully inspire others to pick up a sewing needle.

“At the end of the show, as a sewer you receive back all the items that you have made during your time in the sewing room,” he explained. “I wanted to give a little back to the town and give everyone a chance to see the items first hand.

“We don’t typically get the chance to feel close to what happens on the TV and I thought this was a good way of saying thank you for the continued support.

“I also hope that people see the garments and think “I could do that” and think about getting involved in making things too.”

Tony is incredibly thankful for the support he received during his time on the show.

He added: “I would like to say a great big thank you to the community here in Bude, and to the wider reaches of Cornwall who have been in touch wishing me well and being so kind during my time on the show.”

To see some of Tony’s work, visit The Castle Heritage Centre in Bude, between September 9 and October 6.