Clitheroe woman's knitting army helps Australia bushfires' stricken animals

Rachael Mills
Rachael Mills

A Ribble Valley hub set up to receive donations of knitted items to help animals injured in the Australian wildfires has been overwhelmed by people’s generosity.

In fact, the response has been so immense that it reduced the hub’s organiser, Rachael Mills, to tears when she arrived at work recently to lead a crochet workshop and was met with large piles of donations.

Large piles of donations from generous customers

Large piles of donations from generous customers

Rachael, who runs sewing and crochet classes at The Wool Attic, which is situated on New Market Street, in Clitheroe, said: “We have been making knitted and sewn joey pouches and crochet nests collecting from our wonderful customers as far as Settle and York. I have then, as a collecting hub, sorted them into bags so that they will go through Australia's biosecurity at customs. We’ve been sending holdalls full with people flying to Australia to be sent to the rescue centres there. We have also had sewing and crochet /knitting workshops to share patterns etc.”

Wildfires across Australia killed 25 people, destroyed 2,000 homes and decimated at least half a billion animals as well as swathes of natural habitat. Describing the kindness of people as “amazing” and thanking all her customers, Rachael added that any items surplus to the Australian Animal Rescue Crisis would not go to waste and would be donated to local animal rescue centres.

Clitheroe’s The Wool Attic opened its doors in May last year. The brainchild of Burnley businesswoman Deborah Bentley, it is complemented and attached to Clitheroe Health Shop and the Secret Garden Cafe, the latter which serves vegan and vegetarian food.

Deborah, who praised Rachael for her efforts in trying to help those animals affected in the Australian wildfires, is keen to promote health and well being in the local community. Her family-run businesses are one of the venues for an inspirational project aimed at tackling loneliness and bringing people together called the Natter Shack.

The Secret Garden Cafe plays host to the social gathering every Wednesday from 2 until 3pm. The cafe is also a regular meeting place for other local groups including Action for Autism.

Mindfulness classes have also been staged in The Wool Attic.

For more details about The Wool Attic’s classes and workshops visit: www.thewoolattic.com