25th Apr, 2018

Shirley handcrafts group knits 100 blankets for young people with cancer

Felix Nobes 13th Apr, 2018 Updated: 13th Apr, 2018

A SHIRLEY handcrafts group has knitted over 100 blankets for children suffering cancer and life limiting illnesses.

Crafts and Coffee has been knitting and crocheting squares to be made into blankets since 2012.

The community group when it was created in 1996 had around 12 members but now has around 40 members at one time.

Those who participate in group activities bring their own handcraft work which can be knitting, tapestry, crochet or cross stitch.

Since 2012, the group dedicated their efforts to providing blankets for children with cancer.

Over 100 blankets have been made and donated to charity.

The group estimates all the blankets to consist of about 3,600 individually crafted square designs.

The majority of donations go to the Teenage Cancer Trust units at Birmingham Children’s Hospital and the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital in Northfield.

Over the years, donations have been made in bulk, the first of which was made on July 18, 2012.

Since then two more donations have been made to the children’s hospital, plus three to the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital.

The final donation was prepared for Monday March 26 at a meeting at the Shirley Institute.

Cathy Cook, Teenage Cancer Trust youth support coordinator, from the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital was on hand to receive the donation.

Due to an increasing membership, the group moved from Shirley Community Centre to the Shirley Institute, where they have been ever since.

Founder and group leader, Ann Turner, said: “Malcolm (husband) and I started Crafts and Coffee as we felt there was a need to provide company and social activity in Shirley.

“Everyone brings what they are working on and we all have refreshments and enjoy a lot of chatter.

“For the last six years our project has been making squares into blankets.

“Our ladies have put a little bit of love into each square for the patients.

“All the money for the materials have been supplied out of our group funds.

“Over the last 21 years we have organised outings for the members but now our interests are more leisurely due to the mobility of us all.

“We have a charity box on the table each week, and regularly give to local charities.”

Malcolm and Ann have dedicated 40 years of their lives to charitable activity and working in Shirley’s voluntary sector.

They also intend to write a book about the Shirley Institute – where they have been ambassadors and community figures since 1996.

Since last year, the couple have been researching the history of the Shirley Institute, hoping to capture the personal stories which paint a picture of its role in the community.

In 2008, they took up the role of Chairman and secretary at the Shirley Residents Association.

In 2011 they received one of the first ‘Civic Awards’ from Solihull council for their community involvement.

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