A Scots couple faced a race against the clock to deliver 45 metres of Harris Tweed to the Midlands for the funeral of Dame Vivienne Westwood.

Mark Greig and his wife Julie, of Harris Tweed Scotland, were asked if they would help fulfil the fashion designer’s last request before her death on December 29, at the age of 81.

She told her closest friend, the British designer Jeff Banks, that she wanted the church where her funeral service was to be held to be swathed in her beloved Harris Tweed, which she used in several of her collections.

The couple told how they drove from their home in Bothwell, Lanarkshire to Burnley in Lancashire to hand deliver the fabric after a courier firm let them down.

'If we had had to jump on a plane, that's what we would have done

They had received an email on Hogmanay from Mr Banks’ PA, who said she was urgently trying to source Harris Tweed for the service, which was held earlier this month.

“That then progressed to this wonderful story that unfolded,” said Mr Greig.

“Vivienne Westwood’s last request was that she had a small, family funeral. 

“It wasn’t to be lavish, it wasn’t to be put all over the press, it was for family only in a small, run-down church.


“She wanted the church to be spruced up in her favourite Harris Tweed.”

The Bothwell-based firm is run independently from Harris Tweed, who allow the couple to use their brand name. 

Around £45,000 was spent decorating Christ Church, in the village of Tintwhistle, in Derbyshire, where Vivienne Westwood grew up. 

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The fabric was draped along the upper levels of the church with Harris Tweed cushions placed on pews for close family.

At the end of each pew were dried flowers tied up in bows with the tweed.


“The really interesting part about it... there are hundreds of different tweeds to choose from but it had to be the MacLeod tartan," said Mr Greig. 

“That was Vivienne Westwood’s favourite Harris Tweed.

“You normally have to buy Harris Tweed fabric from the mills in Harris, it’s not freely available, particularly 45 metres of it, which is a lot of fabric.

“They came to us on the Saturday and everywhere was shut, no one was answering the phone because it’s Hogmanay and it’s Scotland and our phone is pretty much always on.

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“Unfortunately we don’t keep huge stocks of Harris Tweed because there are so many, that it’s impossible to keep rolls and rolls,” he said.

“By sheer luck we had a full roll of Macleod Harris Tweed fabric.”

The couple then had to work out the fastest way to get the fabric delivered to the church.

They booked a specialised courier to transport it because of the huge length and weight but the company failed to arrive.

“The alarm bells started ringing," said Mr Greig. "We were in charge of providing the fabric to Vivienne Westwood’s funeral and they needed that fabric by Friday. 


“We made the decision that we had to personally deliver the fabric.”

Vivienne Westwood’s family were “blown away” by their efforts to make sure the designer’s wishes were fulfilled.

Mr Greig said: “Alison, Jeff Banks’ PA lived in Burnley and we drove there to hand deliver the roll of fabric. If we had had to jump on a plane, that’s what we would have done.

“They got into the church the following week to dress the church up. I believe there was a cost of around £45,000 to decorate the church the way she wanted.”

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He said his wife received a thank you letter from Jeff Banks and a Vivienne Westwood necklace after the funeral.

“He said she would have loved the service and it was her favourite Harris Tweed.”

The Welsh designer, who launched BBC fashion show The Clothes Show in 1986, revealed that the cushions were pinched by locals after the service.


“They wanted to leave the cushions in the church so they could be there for ever but the locals got wind of it and decided they wanted a wee bit of Vivienne.

“The cushions all went for a walk but the Harris Tweed was recycled and given to a fashion college.”

Mr Greig said his wife, who is the company director, was “blown away” to receive the special commission. 

He said: “We provide a lot of Harris Tweed world-wide but in the grand scheme of things we are just a small business.

“We treated it like any other order that we get but obviously this was very, very special.”