Quirky World: Soldier has it all sewn up as he stitches it to his rivals

ENGLAND: A tough army officer hopes he has put an end to the stigma attached to men sewing after finishing in the top three of a nationwide competition.

Quirky World: Soldier has it all sewn up as he stitches it to his rivals

Neil Stace, 46, said he was stunned at how he has suddenly become famous as “that man who sews” and revealed his joy at getting out the needle and thread.

After showing off his skills on the BBC TV series The Great British Sewing Bee, he hopes other men who love to sew have been helped.

The married father-of-two is based at army headquarters in Andover after a career in the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. He has completed multiple tours everywhere from Afghanistan to Bosnia and Northern Ireland, and everywhere he went, his 1960s sewing machine followed. In Bosnia, it was on hand to run up a set of curtains for the soldiers’ accommodation, in Northern Ireland he set up sewing projects just off the Falls Rd to try to win hearts and minds.

Back home in Salisbury, Wiltshire, he has made ball gowns for his wife Kate, outfits for school productions, and sniper suits for soldiers, after taking up sewing at primary school in Hong Kong.

The girls at his school were allowed to start playing football, so he and a friend demanded they be allowed to join a sewing class in protest.

Col Stace said: “I’m really stunned about how people are interested. There’s clearly a big market out there for blokes who want to sew but perhaps not prepared to have a go because of the stigma that goes with blokes sewing. I would like to think I’ve sort of put an end to that.”

Snakey passenger


A five-foot boa constrictor called Snake was trapped behind a steering wheel for three hours, after slithering behind the dashboard on the way to the vet.

Owner Michael Reid was driving Snake to the vet in Brislington, Bristol, when he realised the pet had escaped from his rucksack. He pulled over and spotted it stuck behind his steering wheel so immediately called vet Vim Kumaratunga at Highcroft Veterinary Group for help.

Mr Kumaratunga, a fellow vet and a veterinary nurse called for a mechanic to take the dashboard apart. The snake was eventually freed unharmed after three hours and “a fair amount” of sedation before being taken back to the clinic for overnight observation.

Scots brew up storm


The makers of a Scottish luxury tea are set to pick up the tea world’s biggest accolade.

Dalreoch Estate white smoked tea, produced by The Wee Tea Plantation in Perthshire, has been honoured by the Salon de Thé awards in Paris. A pot of the tea will set you back £10 (€14) at Edinburgh’s Balmoral Hotel and a tin of loose leaf from Fortnum & Mason costs £35 for 15 grams.

Traditionally grown in India and China, the producers say its plantation in Amulree benefits from the clean Scottish air, fresh spring water and good soil.

Eggs with bacon

US: The egg industry is ordering a side order of Kevin Bacon.

The American Egg Board is launching a print and online ad campaign featuring the Footloose actor and puns using his name. The online spots feature a woman making eggs for breakfast, when Bacon appears lying suggestively on the counter behind her. At one point, she leans in to sniff the actor and says she loves the smell of bacon, when her husband walks in.

Snappy customers


An angry mob of adults attacked staff at a family-themed pizza restaurant after a manager did not respond quickly enough to their complaints about a malfunctioning photo booth.

A police spokesman said six employees were injured at the Chuck E Cheese restaurant in Cleveland, Ohio.

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