Ninety year old Peggy Harrison from Newtownards, whose later life was enriched by Age NI, tells us how a love of knitting helps her to give back.
Peggy, who is originally from Fermanagh and has been living in Newtownards for over 25 years, said, 'I started knitting when I was a young child. My mum was a knitter and she taught me how to knit my very first jumper. From that point onwards I was hooked! I nurtured my passion by knitting items for family and friends including my grandchildren.
'For the past 50 years, I’ve enjoyed taking part in various charitable appeals including knitting for overseas missions and other local charities. I was inspired to participate in the Big Knit campaign following a visit from Naomi Spratt in Age NI. I’ve really enjoyed Naomi visiting and the support she has provided.'
Naomi who works for First Connect, an Age NI service providing one-to-one advice and support to older people to enhance their quality of life and maintain independence, explains, 'I first met Peggy in January 2015 after receiving a referral to support her to access local services and activities. Once I got to know Peggy, I found out that she loves knitting, an activity that offers positive health benefits and provides opportunities to stay active and to socialise.
'Peggy joined the Age NI’s Big Knit, an annual campaign that challenges knitters to create tiny hats to sit atop innocent smoothie bottles. For each be-hatted smoothie sold, innocent donates 25p to help Age NI to provide care, advice and support to older people across Northern Ireland. I also put Peggy in touch with a local ‘Knit and Knatter’ group that meets in the Newtownards Town Library. This enables her to get out and about and meet with other like-minded knitters. I find Peggy’s love of knitting and her kindness towards the charities she supports inspirational.'
For over two years now, Peggy has been putting her skills to good use by knitting an incredible 200 plus miniature hats and raising much-needed funds for Age NI. There are different patterns available so people can choose one that suits their abilities.
Peggy commented, 'Since joining the Big Knit campaign I’ve been busy knitting the basic little bobble hats and my friends have helped by sewing the bobbles on. I really do love knitting and being involved with such a worthwhile charity that supports so many older people is a big motivation.'
Rosalind Cole, Community and Fundraising officer, said, 'Age NI is very grateful to Peggy who has chosen to support Age NI after receiving help from our First Connect service. She is one of many knitters from Northern Ireland who helped to raise over £90,000 for Age NI by knitting 360,600 tiny hats over the last 8 years. Amazing!
'I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Peggy and all of our knitters for taking up the Big Knit challenge, so that Age NI can continue to provide services to help older people in need.’