Audrey’s efforts warm the heart... and island’s babies

October 25, 2017

Audrey Ratcliffe and Diane Glare with bags of clothing and blankets to be sent to East Timor.

WHEN Audrey Ratcliffe heard mothers in the mountains of East Timor were struggling to keep their babies warm, she quickly decided to do something about it.

Rallying Kyabram and District’s local ladies, she commissioned them to knit as many squares for blankets and sets of socks, jumpers and beanies as possible. And since its inception in 2008, the project has blossomed.

So much so that Audrey is struggling to thank everyone for their help — because she doesn’t know who they are.

‘‘All around town — even as far as Tatura — ladies are helping out. Some of them I’ve never even heard of,’’ she said.

‘‘I just really want to thank them for all they’ve done.’’

Not only is Audrey grateful — so are the mothers in East Timor. Photos have already been sent of the babies wrapped warmly in knitted items, safe from the winter chill.

A staggering 10,000 articles have been sent to the island since 2008 and Audrey said there are still loads more on the way.

In fact, they are just about to send off another shipping container of goods. That’s 88 blankets, 190 singlets, 114 jumpers, 31 sets (jumper, beanie and socks), plus much more.

Despite the piles of plastic bags of knitted items currently clogging Audrey’s hall, she said there is still a need — and she welcomes any help.

‘‘There was even one lady in Merrigum who couldn’t knit or crochet. So she donated balls of yarn instead,’’ she said. ‘‘Sometimes we have too much yarn, so it’s worth contacting me to check. But even if you can’t knit or crochet, you can still definitely help.’’

To get involved, call Audrey on 5852 2185.

Patterns are available at Ratcliffe’s Garden Machinery and Boomerang Travel.

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