Knitted hats from Pendle will save babies’ lives in Africa

The cottages.com team with the knitted hats to be donated to the Queen Elizabeth Government Hospital in Malawi. (S)
The cottages.com team with the knitted hats to be donated to the Queen Elizabeth Government Hospital in Malawi. (S)

Generous staff at a Pendle business have been busy knitting hundreds of hats for newborn babies in Africa.

Employees at cottages.com in Earby have helped knit more than 350 hats for babies in the Queen Elizabeth Government Hospital in Malawi.

The appeal was set up by colleague Mark Lemon whose daughter is a volunteer doctor at the hospital after she reported how little provision there was for newborn babies.

With winter about to start in the southern hemisphere country, Mr Lemon said the hats will save children’s lives.

He said: “When I mentioned it to the team, I was hopeful of 70-100 hats and now we’ve collected just over 350 hats, dozens of pairs of mitts and a collection of knitted teddies. It’s heartwarming and I’m amazed at the generosity of my colleagues, it will make a huge difference. They have been really well received.

“I think everybody thinks Africa is hot all the time but in winter, which lasts for about six weeks in Malawi, it can drop to 10 or 12 degrees overnight. Malawi is a poor country, hardly anybody has a car and about 85% work in agriculture. It is not a priority to heat the hospital for those few weeks and the power supply is not the best. Babies do die with the cold.

“Some have gone to the premature unit, some to the neo-natal unit, others to critical care and, rather sadly, the malnutrition unit.”