The founder of a West Yorkshire knitting group has crafted 75 knitted baby hats for a local neonatal unit and made a hospital-themed postbox topper to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the NHS.
Kathleen Jackson, 76, told the PA news agency her Knit and Natter group in Kippax, near Leeds, regularly knits babies’ hats, blankets and booties for local NHS babies and wanted to honour the “amazing” NHS on its anniversary.
When she saw that Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS requested local knitters and crocheters to make hats for babies born in Leeds NHS hospitals to mark the anniversary on July 5, she decided to submit 75 hats as well as creating a postbox topper featuring a bedridden teddy bear.
Ms Jackson said: “I thought, ‘Oh, well, it would be nice to box up 75 hats’, so that’s what I did.”
She said “it just so happened that… one of our ladies had brought in 50 hats for the neonatal [unit]”, so other members of the group pulled together to knit a further 25 hats to make up 75.
The knitting group made the babies’ hats in a range of sizes for infants up to nine pounds (4kg) in weight, Ms Jackson said, and each hat takes around half an hour to make.
She added: “I also sent two novelty hats. I sent a novelty hat which was like the crown for the coronation and I sent a novelty hat which was like a Christmas pudding because I thought that would probably make them laugh a bit.”
Head of nursing and midwifery at Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust Rebecca Musgrave told PA: “In Leeds we have an enthusiastic and talented army of knitters and crocheters, who always respond in huge numbers whenever we ask for donations of handmade clothes or other items.”
“When born, it’s important our babies wear hats to help maintain their temperature. Knitted hats are the best hats to help with keeping newborn babies warm and cosy.”
The Knit and Natter group also collaborated to create a 75th anniversary postbox topper featuring a bedridden teddy bear attended by two nurses and bearing the words “75 YRS NHS”.
Ms Jackson said: “Five of us got together from Knit and Natter and we all knit separate things.
“One knitted a doll, one knitted an outfit, one did the bed, one did the little dog, one did the cupboards at the side, because it was a big project.”
The postbox topper sits in pride of place on Kippax high street and “everybody can see it when they pass”, Ms Jackson said.
She added: “I know lots of people that have been ill and the NHS is absolutely fantastic.
“I was at the beginning of the NHS and now I am 76 years into the NHS and I fully agree with nurses and doctors, you know, going out and clapping them was a good idea, but they deserve a lot more than a clap.”