A 98 year old resident of a York care home is thought to be the UK’s oldest working tailor.
Elwyn Hughes, resident of Connaught Court care home in Fulford, has been stitching and making waistcoats, skirts and other pieces of clothing for more than 80 years.
He is marking National Sewing Machine Day, on Monday, June 13, by creating customised waistcoats for his fellow residents and others in the local community, donating all his earnings to charities.
Elwyn said: “Tailoring keeps me active and occupied, it gives me a focus, provides challenges and keeps my brain working.”
Elwyn discovered his love for tailoring after leaving school, at the age of 13 in the 1930s.
He was expected to follow his family’s footsteps into the mines, but he found himself drawn to a nearby clothing factory.
During the Second World War in 1942, he was conscripted to the army, aged 18, where he was posted to Orkney and trained as a machine gunner.
However once the officers noticed his talent for sewing, they recruited him as a tailor, which saw him travelling around Britain stitching stripes to soldiers’ uniforms.
He returned to the tailoring trade at the end of the war and married his wife Barbara in 1947, and they had three sons, John, Richard and Malcolm.
Sadly, Barbara passed away in 1993.
Elwyn travelled much further afield between the ages of 75 to 80, during his time working for an American clothing company, which saw him travelling around the world to countries including Russia, Egypt, and China.
His job involved him visiting suit factories around the world to ensure that the quality of their products were of an appropriate standard.
Today, Elwyn has four grandchildren, four great grandchildren, and a great great grandson.
Marinda Aydinalp, Deputy Home Manger at Connaught Court, said: “Elwyn is a well-loved and sociable gentleman at Connaught Court, he just brightens everyone’s day.
“The clothing he makes, such as his waistcoats, are always cheerful and colourful.”
National Sewing Machine Day is celebrated each year on June 13 to honour the invention of the first sewing machine, which revolutionised the entire tailoring industry.
The first sewing machine design was first drawn up by English cabinet maker and inventor, Thomas Saint, who originally intended its use to be for stitching leather and canvas.
However after he died, the only evidence of his design that could be was his drawings.
His drawings were then found in 1874 by William Newton Wilson in the London Patent Office, who then built the first sewing machine.
For more information on Connaught Court, which is rated ‘Outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission, click here.