Chichester residents use their hobby to help hospitals and a hospice

Just one of the boxes full of knitted Christmas decorations ready to go to St Wilfrids Hospice next week
Just one of the boxes full of knitted Christmas decorations ready to go to St Wilfrids Hospice next week

A team of caring knitters are making quite an impact at both a Chichester hospice and two hospitals in West Sussex.

The team is made up of four talented women who dedicate any spare time to knitting various decorations, blankets, Easter toys and more to make a difference for St Wilfrid’s Hospice, St Richard’s Hospital and Bognor Regis War Memorial Hospital.

Jean, Shirley and Margaret

Jean, Shirley and Margaret

Shirley Cobden, 81, saw an advert for knitters at St Wilfrid’s Hospice more than 18 years ago and, along with help from her friend of 55 years, Margaret Young, 81, the knitting mission started and immediately became popular within the community.

As the demand for decorations grew further into the community, the knitting team grew, too.

Margaret’s sister Elsie Dufton, 76, who posts her knitted creations from her home in Cornwall, and her friend Jean Fenwick, 84, joined the ladies to help in any way they could.

Both at Easter and Christmas, the team donates hundreds of knitted decorations to St Wilfrid’s Hospice. The hospice then distributes them to schools in the area, where they are purchased by pupils for a small donation to support the work the hospice carries out.

This year, the team is ready to donate more than 200 decorations, including knitted robins, bells, trees and more.

Margaret said: “We are all great friends and have a passion for knitting.

“Shirley does not give herself enough credit for all she does, she organises so much to help people and we all love being part of it.”

Alongside helping the hospice, Shirley knits blankets for patients at Bognor’s hospital and hats and ’angel pockets’ for the premature unit at St Richards Hospital.

Shirley said: “I decided to make the angel pockets as they comfort parents who have sadly lost their babies to still birth.

“I know the staff at all of the places I knit for look after people so well and we all will continue to help in any way we can.”