Knitting for Blackpool Victoria Hospital helps grandma keep ‘young’

Joan Briggs, 93, with some of her knitting pieces, wearing a cardigan she made herself
Joan Briggs, 93, with some of her knitting pieces, wearing a cardigan she made herself
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Meet the 93-year-old great-grandma from Blackpool who keeps ‘young’ by knitting to help others.

Joan Briggs, who was born on Layton Road in 1924, helps provide knitted blankets and handbags for patients at Blackpool Victoria Hospital. As a member of the Help Knit a Lifesaver group for seven years, Joan knits most days to keep active.

She said: “I’ve been knitting most of my life and I am the type of person who can’t sit and do nothing, so I keep knitting as well as doing crosswords, exercise classes and a daily walk.”

The group also knits items for charities and is taking part in the hospital trust’s #TheGreatBTHKnit as part of the World War One centenary.

Joan heard about the group through her son’s girlfriend and makes the meetings every month, come rain or shine.

She said: “Most of my friends have gone, so I like to keep occupied. I’m really lucky I don’t have arthritis, there’s not really anything wrong with me at all and I can still touch my toes!”

As well as keeping active and having good genes, Joan puts her longevity down to not eating chocolate, cheese, tomatoes or take-aways. She only drinks tea, water or milk.

Victoria Copeland, the knitting group’s founder and mentor, said: “Joan is a great knitter who made up the pattern for little bags so patients can put change and small items in them and hang them off their wrists. She has even created her own knitting stitch. She’s had such an interesting life. It’s amazing how she will attend the group, even in terrible weather. She’s an inspiration.”

Joan added: “Being part of the group is a great way to socialise and keep my hands moving. If what I make helps others, that’s even better.”

The group meets the first Monday of every month at Central Library, Queen Street, Blackpool.