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HOSPICE CALLS ON KNITTERS TO JOIN ITS FLEECY FLOCK…

ByDave Stopher

Jun 9, 2023

NORTH East knitters are casting on to create woolly Shaun the Sheep toys and a leading North East hospice is calling on others to join their flock.

St Oswald’s Hospice’s third art trail, Shaun the Sheep on the Tyne, will run from 19 July to 27 September 2023 with 45 big and 70 small sculptures of Wallace and Grommit’s woolly friend placed at landmarks across Newcastle.

And since the trail was announced the hospice has been inundated with hand knitted  Shauns and other sheep-themed items sent by knitters from across the region.

Now it is planning to sell them – along with other trail related merchandise – to raise funds for the hospice and is calling on other knitters to help.

The hospice is providing patterns for everything from Shaun toys to woolly gloves, hats and scarves and any items donated to the hospice will be labelled by its fundraising team to show they have been ‘made with love in aid of St Oswald’s Hospice’ and to meet guidelines from Trading Standards.

They will then be sold at the trail’s specially created HQ stand in the foyer at Newcastle Civic Centre – where trail maps and other merchandise will be available – and at fairs and community events throughout the Art Trail to raise funds for patients and their families.

One keen knitter is Hazel Marshall from Newcastle, who said: “St Oswald’s Hospice is a cause close to my heart, so I was more than happy to help out by knitting some Shauns to sell to raise funds.

“I found getting Shaun right was a bit fiddly at first but I soon got the hang of it. The legs were a challenge but I soon cracked it and I am really pleased with how they turned out.

“I have really enjoyed creating them and hope they are able to raise lots of money for the hospice during the trail.”

Susan MacKellar, Fundraising Coordinator at St Oswald’s Hospice, said: “We will accept any sheep related crafts, particularly knitted and crocheted Shaun the sheep and we have knitting patterns to inspire, although people can feel free to make whatever they like.

“If people want to support the campaign and don’t want to make anything, we are also looking for donations of wool, craft materials and fillings for soft toys. Simply sharing the knitting pattern and info with people they know will also be a huge help.”

Local businesses have also stepped in to help, with Ann’s Wool Shop at Guide Post donating a bag of wool, giving out knitting patterns in the shop and posting on social media to recruit knitters.

Ready Steady Knit at Prudhoe has donated bags of stuffing and are giving out knitting patterns, while Fine Fettle Fibres at Felton also donated a bag of good quality wool.

Knitters have until 19 July to create their handmade Shaun on the Tyne, as this is when the trail will go live in Newcastle.

Anyone interested or who would like to be involved should contact the Supporter Care Team on 0191 246 9123, email supportercare@stoswaldsuk.org or visit www.shaunonthetyne.co.uk

The trail can also be followed on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #shaunonthetyne.

Shaun the Sheep on the Tyne is being held in conjunction with creative producers Wild in Art, along with Shaun the Sheep creators Aardman and headline trail sponsor Newcastle City Council.