Leeds hospice’s knit a chick appeal

STAR KNITTER: Phyllis with just some of her many knitted chicks.
STAR KNITTER: Phyllis with just some of her many knitted chicks.
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Star knitter Phyllis Heslop has raised thousands of pounds for a Leeds hospice by making knitted Easter chicks.

Now she’s encouraging other knitters to get involved in the Knit-a-Chick appeal for St Gemma’s Hospice by sharing her special knitting pattern.

Retired café owner Phyllis – who has raised more than £4,000 for St Gemma’s – began supporting the Moortown hospice in 2006 when her husband Roy was a patient in the day hospice.

She said: “I owe such a debt to St Gemma’s for the way they cared for Roy and me. Roy was a quiet man and he was able to go to the day hospice and express himself by painting and crafting.

“I wanted to give back to St Gemma’s in a way that was personal to us and the care he received.”

After her husband died in August 2006, Phyllis began to knit little chicks for the hospice as a way of giving back.

In her first year she knitted 50 chicks which proved popular and sold quickly in the local community.

The donated chicks are used to cover chocolate eggs and sold in schools and local businesses with all proceeds to St Gemma’s.

Emma Giagnacovo, community fundraiser at the hospice, said: “It is an absolute pleasure to work with Phyllis and she has inspired lots of knitters across Leeds to knit-a-chick and help raise thousands of pounds for the hospice.

“We are hoping to make this year our biggest yet and with more knitters on board I’m sure we can achieve this.

“The hospices services are all given free of charge, costing over £9m a year. This could not be done without generous donors such as Phyllis and we rely on fundraising initiatives such as this to keep going – so thank you in advance for your support.”

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