Knitting together for deprived youngsters

Elizabeth Mackenzie launched the knitting scheme three years ago.
Elizabeth Mackenzie launched the knitting scheme three years ago.

A knitting group at a North-east church is helping deprived children around the world.

The five-strong pastoral care team at Belhelvie Parish Church has been making hundreds of toys to send to youngsters in Africa and Europe’s orphanages and refugee camps.

Many of these babies are abandoned and they use teddies as comforters

Elizabeth Mackenzie Pastoral Care Team

One enthusiast has knitted an amazing 118 teddies which are ready to be shipped abroad.

The idea came from team member Elizabeth Mackenzie, who lives in Ellon.

She launched the scheme three years ago under the title Strictly Come Knitting and the group of friends began busily knitting teddies, blankets and clothes from home.

Mrs Mackenzie said: “People were asking for support in Nkhoma Hospital in Malawi for knitted teddies because many of these babies are abandoned and they use teddies as comforters.

“It’s been proven by the medical profession that it works because when a child gets a hold of a teddy it relaxes them.”

She added: “There’s a small group of ladies, and sometimes their friends from outwith the church, and they started knitting the teddies, knitwear for babies and blankets from home and its just escalated from there.”

The scheme has expanded to such an extent that toys are now sent to orphanages and refugee camps around Europe.

Mrs Mackenzie is delighted with their efforts, singling out one church member in particular who has knitted around 200 teddies.

She said: “Judith Moir is the star of the show. Despite suffering from a quite heavily impairing disability she still has time to think of others.

“The knitters have done a magnificent job. It’s been a real team effort.”

Belhelvie minister the Rev Paul McKeown praised the group.

He said: “It shows that anybody who puts their mind to it can make a positive difference to the lives of others.”