When Emma Sutton put a callout on social media asking strangers to knit and crochet blankets for the NHS hospice that was caring for her mum, she didn’t think there’d be much of a response.
But her posts were shared tens of thousands of times and after coverage of her story on HuffPost: HumanKind, the hospice has now received more than 100 hand-knitted shawls and blankets to keep patients warm through the winter.
Jackie Hooton, ward manager at The Meadows, said they have been inundated with parcels from around the world and that “it’s like Christmas every day”.
Sutton’s mum Maralyn Westwood was admitted to hospital in Stockport, Greater Manchester after suffering a stroke in summer 2018, and was transferred to The Meadows on 21 December, where she died nine days later.
During her mum’s short stay at the hospice, Sutton was not only touched by the kindness of the staff, but also the details that made her time “a little easier to bear”, such as a floral duvet instead of white hospital sheets.
As a way to say thank you – and give other patients the same home comforts – Sutton a poster on the ward asking knitters and crocheters to make colourful blankets to a Facebook crochet group, just a couple of days before her 81-year-old mother died.
Six people immediately volunteered to help, so Sutton decided to put it on Twitter too. “I thought I might double the number,” she told HuffPost UK.
“I truly only expected tens of people to help – and mostly my friends, rather than random strangers from around the world.”
Last week, Sutton returned to the hospice to see the blankets staff have received. Sister Hooton told her they now have 106 blankets, including a donation of 12 from the Offerton Crochet Group alone.
One 103-year-old has taken two beautiful knitted shawls home with her, while the first blanket – which Sutton donated the day after her mum died – is still warming the knees of another patient.
Sister Hooton said after she first put up the poster requesting knitted donations the hospice hadn’t received a single response. Since Sutton’s tweet went viral, blankets have arrived from all over the UK, including nine from the Orkney Islands, some from the US and even Madeira.
Every patient now has a handmade blanket or shawl in their room from the moment they arrive, said Hooton, who added that the response “really lifted the spirits of everyone” at the hospice.
Sutton is currently making her 11th item – “mostly lap blankets but three shawls as well” – which she hopes will encourage others to continue to send theirs too.
“To be honest, I only expected a few friends to help out,” she said. “And even after the huge number of retweets [15,500 and counting], I still had no idea how many people might do more than retweet and send or make something for the hospice.”
She added that the huge showing of kindness has left her “utterly speechless”.
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