Pat and Mandy make a difference with knitted donations

TWO community-spirited women have been keeping their knitting needles busy to donate hundreds of baby blankets and hats to Tameside General Hospital.

Pat Meftah, from Mossley, and Mandy Lee, who lives in Greenfield, have both carefully and lovingly made the items for premature babies at the hospital’s neonatal unit.

Retired nurse Pat started crocheting as a hobby during her night shifts as a nurse on the neonatal unit decades ago.

She has been donating items for more than 10 years – and hasn’t even let the Covid pandemic disrupt her efforts.

Pat Meftah with her knitted items

She explained: “It’s just a hobby really and I enjoy doing it. I’d made lots of items and someone said instead of keep piling them up in my bedroom I should donate them – so I did.

“For years I’ve donated items to Tameside General Hospital and I used to donate to Manchester too but it’s difficult to get there now.

“My friend Lynne Neville-Cooper is head of the neonatal unit at Tameside so I drop the hats off at her mum’s house near me so she can then take to them to the hospital.

“The staff always send me nice thank you letters. And they asked for some larger ones for the other babies so I made some of those to donate too.”

Meanwhile, Mandy only recently took up knitting during the pandemic and has been busy making dementia mitts as well as baby blankets and hats ever since.

She has donated the items to The Royal Oldham Hospital and Tameside General Hospital.

Mandy Lee knitting for dementia patients

Mandy, the former postmistress at Greenfield Post Office, explained: “Last year, people were making scrub bags and I couldn’t do that so thought what can I do instead.

“I’ve never knitted before so decided to try it. I’ve really enjoyed it!

“People have been very kind and donated wool for me to use. One person even donated £50 which I spent on wool to make more items.”

The dementia mitts are made up of various colours of wool and have patches of other materials, buttons, beads and even little toys sewn on to make them tactile and bring comfort to patients.

The baby blankets and hats have been a welcome gift as they are always in demand, particularly for premature babies at the hospitals’ neonatal units.

IT is not just the birds that have been given a fright by the scarecrow in green-fingered Pat Meftah’s allotment…

“My scarecrow, which was made for a competition, now looks after my greenhouse and it has fooled many people who thought it was real!” explained Pat.

“My allotment friend told me he was altering the taps, he needed some help so waved and whistled to the scarecrow, wondering why it never moved.

“He went closer and whistled again, only to realise it wasn’t a real person!”

Pat, who lives in Mossley, has had her allotment in Audenshaw, for more than 30 years and has won numerous prizes at gardening shows.

Pat was unable to visit her allotment during lockdown so it has become overgrown, but she looks forward to it blossoming once more now she can return.

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