Knitting-mad Janet aids Christmas toy appeal

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FORGET fancy gadgets and computer games - kind-hearted Janet Hart knows that old-fashioned toys can bring just as much joy to children at Christmas.

Hundreds of presents have come through the doors of The News' offices since we launched our Christmas toy appeal.

Among those donating is Janet, who hours knitting 10 woollen characters for children to play with on Christmas Day.

Janet, of Blackbrook Park Avenue, Fareham, made the painstakingly detailed dolls especially for the appeal.

'I just like knitting, it gives me something to do,' said Janet.

'I gave up knitting jumpers because nobody wants them any more.

'They're not as fashionable as something you can buy from a factory in China.

'So instead I started knitting dolls, because it doesn't cost much to go and get a couple of balls of wool and they make nice presents for people.

'I used to knit them for my grandchildren but they're a little too old now and I've got no-one else to give them to.

'It's a bit of a habit of mine to knit them, though.

'So I thought I would donate them to The News appeal.'

The 67-year-old knitted a nurse, fireman, policeman, ballerina, postman, footballer, lifeboatman, sailor, Santa and a Brownie.

She perfected the art of knitting at just 13 years old and put her skills to good use over the years to make presents for her family.

Janet's donation will boost our appeal to help two charities provide presents for hundreds of local children.

It means children who come from disadvantaged families will not be disappointed on Christmas Day.

We encouraged readers to donate any unwanted toys in the run-up to Christmas for Connors Toy Library, in Portsmouth and the Salvation Army.

'I think it's excellent that someone would go to all the trouble to make some toys themselves,' said Melvyn Thomas, from the Salvation Army.

'Janet has clearly given a lot of her time to help someone else which I think is great.'

Donations from readers in Portsmouth will go to Connors, while Fareham, Gosport and Havant readers will benefit families through the Salvation Army.

Connors Toy Library hosts 30 playgroups a week throughout the city and loans toys to children.

The Salvation Army will deliver toys donated by readers to children and families identified as being in need of help by social services, as well as food and other gifts.