TV FUNNYMAN and chat show host Paul O’Grady has sent a personal message of thanks to a blind woman who has been busy knitting potentially life-saving woolly hats for babies in South Africa.
Gail England, 54, of Mickle Trafford, has sent off more than 50 hats following the TV celebrity’s appeal for under-privileged children on his Channel 4 teatime show.
This is a remarkable achievement in itself but even more so as Gail has been blind since birth.
About half of all babies born in South Africa suffer from hypothermia during their first week of life meaning they are much more likely to catch pneumonia and that’s why charity Save The Children wants people to knit woolly hats for these infants.
Gail, who attends the craft club at the Vision Support Centre in Whipcord Lane, said: “Beryl Duggan, who organises the craft club on behalf of the charity, knew I love to knit and suggested that I make a few hats for Paul’s appeal.
“With her help and Janet Cliff, another member of the club who sews the hats up for me, we have sent off more than 50 hats and there are still more to send.
“I was so surprised and chuffed to get a lovely message of thanks from Paul together with a signed photo of him and his lovely dog Buster.”
Gail has been knitting since she was eight after being taught by her mother. She does not let her sight-loss stop her from getting on with life.
She added: “Things might take a bit longer or I have to adapt and find alternative ways of doing them. I use an abacus to help me count the rows and I have committed the pattern for the hats to memory.”
Gail is going to continue to support Paul’s appeal and is now looking for scarf and bootie patterns.
Paul O’Grady, who has seen poverty at first hand on a recent trip to South Africa, said: “I have never picked up knitting needles in my life before, but Save the Children’s challenged me to get learning.”
You can help by knitting a woolly hat – for information and a knitting pattern visit www.channel4.com.