Knitters make sure orphans are warm in African winter

WARM These children in Lesotho have new clothes thanks to Havant volunteers
WARM These children in Lesotho have new clothes thanks to Havant volunteers
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SMILING broadly, these children look delighted to be wearing their new knitted hats and jumpers.

And it’s all thanks to the generosity of Havant knitters.

HELP Rita McCoy, above, sends toys and clothes to Africa

HELP Rita McCoy, above, sends toys and clothes to Africa

Grandmother Rita McCoy sends boxes full of warm clothes to the tiny, impoverished Kingdom of Lesotho each year.

Mrs McCoy, from Havant, first found out about the plight of orphaned and abandoned African children a decade ago while watching a Songs of Praise broadcast from South Africa.

After years sending warm knitted clothes to the country she then heard about the need in Lesotho after Prince Harry set up the Sentebale charity.

She now has a network of knitters who make sure they make enough hats, jumpers and scarves to keep the children from rural Lesotho warm through the cold winter months, which are just about to begin.

Mrs McCoy was delighted when the Office of the First Lady of Lesotho, Mathato Mosisili, sent pictures of the clothes being handed out to grateful children.

She said: ‘I was over the moon with them.

‘To see them giving the things out makes it all worthwhile.

‘It’s brilliant to see the children wearing what people have knitted.

‘People who have donated items and knitted can look at the pictures and say “I did that”.

‘Obviously I know what we do is a drop in the ocean compared to the need out there but at least it’s helping some people.’

A letter from the Office of the First Lady expressed gratitude for the items which will ‘come in handy’ for children at primary schools, nursing mothers and for youngsters in orphanages.

As well as warm knitted items the children are in desperate need of exercise books, pencils, rubbers, tennis balls, balloons and cuddly toys.

Mrs McCoy added: ‘Someone once told me that the children love balloons.

‘When I went out there a few years ago I took some and they got so much pleasure out of them. I know it’s such a simple thing but they had so much fun with them.’

The Lions Club of Havant pays for the items to be sent each year at a cost of between £340 to £380.

The next shipment will be in about October.

Donations are always needed but Mrs McCoy can only accept newly-knitted clothing for health and hygiene reasons.

To arrange to drop off donations call Mrs McCoy on (023) 9278 7004.