One of Verdant Works’ longest standing volunteers will be celebrating her 80th birthday this weekend, as Dundee’s award-winning visitor attraction launches its much-anticipated Winter Fayre.

Lily Thomson, who has proved herself to be one of the attraction’s most dedicated volunteers over the last 23 years, has been involved in producing the first genuine Dundee jute woven products since the mill closed in 1998, to be sold at the Fayre.

Lily, who spends two days a week at Verdant Works demonstrating the jute processing machines to visitors and school groups, worked in the Jute mills as a weaver after finishing school in the 1950s. The woven jute has been cleverly used to fashion peg bags and tea cosies by talented seamstress Margaret Duncan, who has a studio at Meadow Mill.

Deirdre Robertson, CEO of Dundee Heritage Trust, said: “Lily is one of our most dedicated volunteers, with 23 years’ experience of sharing her weaving expertise with visitors at Verdant Works. Even a broken hip last year hasn’t slowed her down in providing the perfect visitor experience at the Mill, talking to our visitors about the days in which jute was King in Dundee! We know our visitors thoroughly appreciate her input as she has received numerous compliments on our Trip Advisor and Google reviews.

“We’re delighted to be able to help her celebrate her 80th birthday as we launch our Winter Fayre this weekend, which will include a range of authentically Dundonian Christmas gifts that she has helped to produce from genuine Dundee jute.”

The Verdant Works Winter Fayre takes place this weekend, Saturday 30 November to Sunday 1 December from 11am to 4pm. Free to attend, a variety of local artists and designers will be selling their Christmas goods.

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For more information please contact Emma Davies on 01738 700134 or 07963 817302 or email:

Notes to editors

Picture caption: L-R: Verdant Works’ volunteer Lily Thomson with seamstress Margaret Duncan and the Christmas gifts which will be on sale at the Winter Fayre made of Verdant Works’ genuine Dundee jute.

Dundee Heritage Trust

Formed in 1985 to preserve and interpret Dundee’s Heritage, Dundee Heritage Trust is an independent registered charity dedicated to the guardianship, preservation and portrayal of Dundee’s Heritage in ways that educate, inspire and enlighten current and future generations.

As well as the internationally significant Royal Research Ship Discovery, Dundee Heritage Trust has responsibility for Discovery Point Antarctic Museum plus Verdant Works, one of the nation’s most important textile museums.  Both sites are accredited museums with collections of national significance, 5 star rated attractions with VisitScotland and have won numerous awards.