"My tissue boxes are all across the world"

20th Feb 2023 - Written by Brunelcare

Reading time: 3 minutes

Eileen from Woodland Court has been creating tissue box holders for over 30 years, with all proceeds going to Cossham Hospital. We spoke to Eileen to find out more about her excellent work. 


When and why did you decide to start making tissue boxes for Cossham hospital?

I started making the cottages in 1992 after my manager Betty asked if anyone could make one to raise money for the equipment at Cossham Hospital. I had done tailoring, but nothing like this before. I used a tissue box, a box of cornflakes, and a photograph of the cottage to create the pattern for my first-ever cottage and then would use plastic canvas to make the cottages. On the second cottage, I added roses to the front of the house and a potted plant at the back door. 

How often do you make these?

When I first made the cottages, I made around three per week whilst looking after my six children. I worked late at night to ensure they were all finished. Now I have reduced it to two per week, and I still cannot keep up with the orders. 

How many tissue boxes have you made since you started?

My daughter sat and worked this out for me, and as I did three cottages a week for quite a few years, then two cottages per week for all the years after that, we worked out that I have done over 7,000 cottages. The cottages are all across the world, including New Zealand, Australia, Mexico, Scotland, Wales, and England. When I used to go on cruises, people would see me creating the cottages and ask if I could make them one, which I could and would give to them before the cruise ended.

How long do these usually take to make, and how do you make them?

From start to finish, it usually takes between 2-3 days to create a cottage. 

Do you know how much money has been raised through your tissue boxes?

I’m not sure how much, but it must be quite a lot. 

Tell us about the ambulance tissue box and how that came about – do you think you’ll make more like that?

On the 2nd of January 2023, I need to call the paramedics due to my breathing. When they arrived, they explained how bad the queues at the hospital were and advised I would be waiting a long time at the hospital to be treated. They decided to stay with me at home and treat my breathing instead.

They were very good and stayed with me for five hours to ensure I was okay. One of the paramedics noticed the cottage tissue box and asked what it was. He then said he would like one, but instead of a cottage, he would like his ambulance to be made into a tissue box.

My daughters took a photo of his ambulance from different angles and enlarged the photos so I could try and make a pattern. I have since finished the ambulance and will let the paramedics come and collect it. 

How long have you lived at Woodland Court?

I have lived at Woodland Court now for fifteen years. Previously, I had lived at my family home for 73 years in Fishponds and used to look after lots of people along my road. When I was shown my flat with the garden, I immediately said yes and agreed to move in.

Eileen is looking for volunteers who could help create tissue box cottages. Please get in touch if this is something you would be interested in at [email protected].