Retired Portsmouth minister sends knitted items to needy children

HELPING Beryl Wright with donations of knitted items for children in South Africa. Picture: Sarah Standing (123499-518)
HELPING Beryl Wright with donations of knitted items for children in South Africa. Picture: Sarah Standing (123499-518)
Trinity Methodist Church in Albert Road, Southsea

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IMPOVERISHED children in South Africa will benefit from new clothes and teddies thanks to one woman’s selfless efforts.

Beryl Wright, 76, of Devonshire Avenue, Southsea, collects knitted items, such as jumpers and teddy bears, from people across Portsmouth and raises cash throughout the year to pay for expensive postage.

Now the retired Copnor Methodist Church minister will fly to South Africa next week to see how youngsters have benefited from her acts of kindness.

She started campaigns called Knitting for South African Children and Teddies for Tragedy in 2006 and they have grown from strength to strength.

Dr Wright, whose family emigrated to Port Elizabeth from Leicestershire when she was 10, has linked the campaigns with Newton Park Methodist Church in the South African city, and her sister Eileen Russell, 74, hands out the knitted items.

She said: ‘All the items are knitted by the elderly whose grandchildren no longer need woolly clothes.

‘I’m sent little jumpers through to babies’ teddies and I send them out to street children in South Africa.’

A fundraising morning was held at the Wesley Rooms in Copnor Methodist Church on Wednesday and £145 was generated to cover the postage costs.

Congregations at churches across the region also pitch in to help by knitting everything from hats and blankets to socks for newborn babies to go home in from hospital.

It costs around £570 a year to send the items out in 2kg parcels and Dr Wright, who returned to England aged 33, will make sure more children benefit next week by packing some items into her suitcase.

She added: ‘It varies every year according to how many parcels we end up sending out.

‘The teddies for tragedy would be given to police officers to give to children but we started to produce far more than they needed.

‘My sister is planning to take me out to the different projects where the jumpers are going.

‘There is a lady who has lost her eyesight but she has sent in little squares to be made into blankets. I will take them with me.

‘I get ladies ringing me all the time to say they have got teddies for me. David Cameron keeps talking about the Big Society, but we know there is a big society – it’s been here for a long time.’