Owners send African orphans homemade knits

Owners at Churchill Retirement Living’s Osbourne Lodge in Bournemouth have been keeping themselves busy this winter while helping orphans thousands of miles away.

Members of the Osbourne Lodge Nutty Knitters Club have been knitting cot blankets, teddies and baby clothes for children of the Beautiful Gate Orphanage in Lesotho, southern Africa. The orphanage, which looks after children orphaned by HIV and AIDS, is run by volunteers and funded entirely by charitable donations.

The idea to help came about after they sponsored Lodge Manager, Elaine Le Gonidec, who was completing a sponsored walk in aid of the project.

Elaine Le Gonidec said: “The Owners here at Osbourne Lodge kindly sponsored me last year when I did my Laps for Lent walk, which was 40 laps around All Saints Church to help raise money for the Lesotho Orphanage Project. The sponsorship monies amounted to £150. Several Owners showed an interest in the project and were keen to know whether there was anything further they could do to help.

“I knew a group of volunteers, led by Stephanie Parrett who runs the nursery at church, would be visiting the orphanage again this spring. So a crack team of knitters and other helpers set about producing little parcels to send over with the volunteers.”

The group has made items for the children as well as gift bags including knitted hats, bars of soap and other little items for the house mothers, who live at the orphanage and help to look after the children.

Juliette Eley who owns an apartment at Osbourne Lodge started the knitting group when she moved in. 

She said: “There are about half a dozen of us who get together every fortnight for a knit and a natter. Some of us knit and others, who don’t, just come for a chat. We take it in turns to host in our apartments at Osbourne Lodge and we always enjoy tea and biscuits. 

“We always knit for charities – whatever is needed. Recently we’ve been concentrating on producing items for the children at the Beautiful Gate. We’ve knitted about 20 hats and 20 little jackets as well as some soft toys and we’ve made some very colourful hats for the house mothers too.”

Spencer McCarthy, Chairman and Group Managing Director, for Churchill said: “The Nutty Knitters group allows Owners to enjoy each other’s company whilst doing something positive for charities.

“At Churchill we make sure that our Lodges create a sense of community. Whether Owners set up their own groups, or attend some of the fantastic events hosted by the Lodge, there is always an opportunity to meet with fellow Owners.”


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