A PENSIONERS’ knitting group is helping keep our troops warm by making 150 woolly hats for British forces in Afghanistan.
The ladies at the charitable military housing association Cessac House in The Redan, Anglesey in Gosport, first decided to knit together to socialise.
But now the once-a-week session sees more than a dozen pensioners knit the hats.
So far 50 have already been sent over with the help of the British Legion, with another 100 ready to go.
Martha McKenzie, 75, said: ‘It started off when the manager suggested trying to get people out of their flats because it can get very lonely.
‘We’re all of an age where we know how to knit and sew and I thought perhaps we could start a craft group and it’s just escalated.’
In addition to the hats for soldiers, the ladies also knit blankets and specialist clothing for premature babies at Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham.
They knit ventilator hats – woolly hats with flaps that allow wires to come out of the top – along with matinee coats and blankets, which parents of newborns take home with them.
Each member of the group makes short work of the knitting, with 45 matinee coats, 30 ventilator hats and 30 blankets ready to be donated and more on the way.
Peggy Fromont, 90, was a Wren in the Second World War.
She joked: ‘You can’t do much else at that age can you?
‘We’re knitting to help people, we’re knitting to help the soldiers – not that we agree to them being out there – but we’ve still got to keep them warm.
‘You can make a hat in an evening. Most of us knit in our flats too.’
Peggy added that she, along with most of the women in the group, had learned to knit and sew at school.
Grace Rodaway, 72, said: ‘It’s all going for a good cause. If people put their life on the line they deserve everything we knit.’
The group, which has been thanked by the members of the Royal Navy, needs more wool to keep producing more hats.
They will also knit for a fundraiser, to be held at the home on August 17 at 12pm.
It will support the home’s parent body, the Church of England Sailor, Soldier and Airmen’s Club (Cessac) and Macmillan Cancer Support.
Contact Martha on (023) 92 525 703 to arrange to donate wool to the group.
Alternatively, call Cessac on (023) 92 829 319 to arrange donations.