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Neil started sewing at school out of protest because the girls were allowed to join the football team.

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Lieutenant Colonel in the Army

He was mocked by his troops for taking his sewing machine on tour to Bosnia and Afghanistan, until they realised how useful it was for their own uniform repairs and making curtains for their accommodation. Neil was even asked to sew the head back on to someone’s teddy bear!

I’m always biting and pulling cotton rather than using scissors.

Aside from his family, Neil has two, extreme passions; sewing and rugby. He has been known to rush straight off the rugby pitch and home to finish an evening dress for his wife for dinner that evening.

Neil picked up sewing from his mum and sisters, so is no stranger to womenswear. He has made three wedding dresses, the bridesmaids dresses for his own wedding and bespoke occasion wear for his wife – including her going away outfit.

Neil once got roped into making the costumes for a Sound of Music production – which turned out to be over 120 outfits - and at the other end of the spectrum has made ammunition pouches, ski gloves and rugby shirts.

Neil says:

“I have some bad habits; I’m always biting and pulling cotton rather than using scissors. I’m also lazy with pinning patterns – I start by pinning then I end up just cutting. I think part of my problem is I’ve never had a decent machine!”