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Wool a fitting gift for a future king

HANDFULS of wool from Australian woolgrowers nationwide – with no dags allowed – will be made into Royal wedding gifts for Prince William and his bride Kate.

Australian Wool Innovation this week launched an appeal for Australian Merino wool to be turned into suiting cloth and for crossbred wool to perhaps make a blanket for the Royal couple, set to be married on April 29.

AWI chief executive officer Stuart McCullough said a gift would be a fitting gesture of thanks after Prince William’s father, the Prince of Wales, initiated the five year Campaign for Wool last year.

The idea of dressing Prince William for his wedding to Kate Middleton was raised by South Australian wool grower Tom Ashby at the AWI annual general meeting last year.

“It would be an appropriate gift after the brilliant campaign the Prince of Wales began which has helped to re-connect the world with our natural and biodegradable fibre,” Mr McCullough said.

He said Prince Charles had not been formally notified of AWI’s gift project. “But I do believe there has been some seeding of the (wedding gift) idea.”

Woolgrowers from across Australia are being urged to donate a small sample of their natural fibre to be turned into Australian Merino cloth for Prince William to wear on his wedding day, but no dags allowed, Mr McCullough said.

“I presume if they are sending us dags, they won’t put their name on the back – it might be a message,” Mr McCullough said.

The donated wool will be made into a unique fine suiting fabric and sent to the famous bespoke tailors of Savile Row, London. If enough wool is sent then suits could be made for Prince William and his bride, Mr McCullough said. Any leftover fabric may be auctioned online with proceeds going to a charity to be nominated by the young couple.

Woolgrowers of all descriptions willing to take part are being urged to send a small sample of their wool to AWI, complete with their name and property so a list of woolgrowers donating can be registered with the gift well before the Royal wedding.

Despite the variety of wool qualities that could be donated by Australian Merino and crossbred woolgrowers, Mr McCullough said AWI was “fair dinkum” about the project.

“If we have to take off the coarse end, we will take off the coarse end and make something else as well.

“We are deadly serious about this – if we get 100 grams from 3000 farmers that is 300 kilograms of wool,” Mr McCullough said.

“We only need a kilogram of greasy wool for a suit, but I think we will aim to get him 60 metres of fabric.”

Woolgrowers of broader and non Merino wool are also being urged to donate also and from this wool a suitable gift such as a blanket or rug may also be made.

Hamilton wool grower Michael Blake supported the Royal gift idea and said he had a Merino show fleece that he could take some wool for a donation.

To take part, woolgrowers have until February 10 to send a sample of their wool in a standard envelope, complete with name, property, fibre diameter and email address to: Wool fit for a Prince, c/- AWI, Level 30, 580 George St, Sydney, NSW, 2000.

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