A stitch in time helps save lives

Kathy Cooke from Norbreck has been knitting for six decades making anything she can to help others charitably
Kathy Cooke from Norbreck has been knitting for six decades making anything she can to help others charitably
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From jumpers for orphans and baskets for babies to hats for the homeless and even clothes for Chernobyl children – there’s nothing this lady won’t knit.

Kathy Cooke can turn her hand to almost anything, especially if it’s in the name of charity.

The 66-year-old, who lives in Norbreck, has been knitting for six decades, creating a range of useful items to donate to charitable organisations across Blackpool the North West and even further afield to Africa and Russia.

The keen knitter’s charity started when she made 53 beanie hats for the Seaman’s Mission in Scotland to give to foreign seamen who aren’t dressed warm enough for the climate.

From there she went on to create ‘angel baskets’ and tiny cribs for parents of stillborn or miscarried babies to place their tiny children in.

Mrs Cooke said:“I must have made hundreds of things, and used thousands of balls of wool.

“I like to know that children won’t go without, it’s always nice to do things for children. My favourite to do are the cribs for stillborn babies, for people who are having such a hard time, I like the idea of a mum knowing they have something pretty for their child.”

Items have been sent all over the world too, including blankets for ‘fish and chip shop babies’ who were being sent home from hospitals in South Africa wrapped in paper due to a lack of garments.

Also sent to Africa were jumpers to keep street children warm at night in Kenya, and toys and comforters for orphans in Uganda.

And 10 children from Chernobyl who visited Blackpool were sent home wearing their own brand new clothes, made by Mrs Cooke.

She added: “It does not take much to bring comfort to someone saddened by events. The best thing we can do is to be kind in even a small way.”

Knitting has also been a good thing for Mrs Cooke too, being therapeutic for her, having spent hours knitting at Royal Preston Hospital while waiting for her husband Barry, 82, to have radiotherapy for prostate cancer.

Her passion for knitting saw her develop a ‘knit and natter’ group in Leyland too, close to where she worked at a Job Centre before retiring, as well as nominated by her colleagues to attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace for her charitable creations.

Mrs Cooke’s love of knitting started as an 11-year-old, when she went to live with her grandmother Edith after her mother died.

She said: “She took on this stroppy child and taught me to knit. I have never lost my passion for it, that my beloved grandmother gave to me.

“When I went to the Queen’s garden party I thought I hope she’s looking down, that was where knitting got me.”