Hap­py Hands keep ma­ri­ners co­sy and warm

Graaff-Reinet Advertiser - - Voorblad -

T­hey knit, ex­chan­ge sto­ries and laugh. All whi­le keeping men out at sea warm.

The­se wo­men call them­sel­ves the Hap­py Hands K­nit­ting Group.

The group of la­dies, com­pri­sed of re­si­dents from the B­ren­da Hor­witz Court and Par­so­na­ge S­treet re­ti­re­ment vil­la­ges in Graaff-rei­net, co­me to­get­her week­ly to brain­storm and knit as a group.

Their la­test i­ni­ti­a­ti­ve is to knit warm wool­ly hats, ba­la­cla­vas, scar­ves and glo­ves for ma­ri­ners who may spend mont­hs at a ti­me at sea in harsh we­at­her.

The group was es­ta­blis­hed e­ar­ly 2017 and has sin­ce knit­ted goods for a va­ri­e­ty of cha­ri­ta­ble cau­ses.

Re­cent­ly, Dr Mark Ma­rais, the rec­tor at the St Ja­mes Ang­li­can C­hurch, shared in­for­ma­ti­on a­bout the ef­forts of The Mis­si­on To Se­a­fa­rers with the­se la­dies.

A­round the wor­ld, The Mis­si­on to Se­a­fa­rers pro­vi­des help and sup­port to the 1.5 mil­li­on men and wo­men who fa­ce dan­ger e­very day to keep our glo­bal e­co­nomy af­lo­at.

Pi­ra­cy, ship­wreck, a­bandon­ment and se­pa­ra­ti­on from lo­ved on­es are just a few of the pro­blems mer­chant se­a­fa­rers fa­ce.

The Mis­si­on to Se­a­fa­rers works in o­ver 200 ports in 50 coun­tries ca­ring for se­a­fa­rers of all ranks, na­ti­o­na­li­ties and be­liefs.

Through their glo­bal net­work of chap­lains, staff and vo­lun­teers t­hey of­fer practi­cal, e­mo­ti­o­nal and spi­ri­tu­al sup­port to se­a­fa­rers through ship vi­sits, drop-in se­a­fa­rers' cen­tres and a ran­ge of wel­fa­re and e­mer­gen­cy sup­port ser­vi­ces. Short­ly af­ter he­a­ring a­bout the plig­ht of the se­a­fa­rers, the Hap­py Hands K­nit­ting Group set a­bout cre­a­ting a stash of knit­ted goods for the­se men and wo­men.

The­se goods we­re col­lected by Dr Ma­rais last week, who will de­li­ver them to the chap­lains of The Mis­si­on to Se­a­fa­rers in Mos­sel Bay.

"The­re's al­ways a de­mand for hand-ma­de knit­ted goods," said Joy S­har­pe, a mem­ber of the Hap­py Hands Kit­ting Group, who ho­pes the k­nit­ting group will grow and wants pe­op­le to join.

The group of knit­ters in­vi­te all tho­se in­te­rested to get in­to con­tact with them, w­het­her it is to do­na­te wool to the cau­se or to ta­ke up k­nit­ting them­sel­ves.

The group of­fers gui­dan­ce and as­sis­tan­ce to ne­w­co­mers. “All help, ad­vi­ce and hu­mor are free,” S­har­pe said.

“E­ach knit­ted i­tem is a sym­bol of lo­ve and friends­hip that transcends lan­gua­ge bar­riers and cul­tu­ral dif­fe­ren­ces.

“The i­tem of clo­thing that you knit - the work of your hands will bring warmth, com­fort and a to­ken of your ap­pre­ci­a­ti­on to men and wo­men who sup­ply us with all the t­hings we use e­very day,” said S­har­pe.

If you would li­ke to do­na­te to the Hap­py Hands K­nit­ting Group, or be­co­me a knit­ter your­self, con­tact S­har­pe at the Par­so­na­ge S­treet Re­ti­re­ment Vil­la­ge or drop off do­na­ti­ons at Ria P­re­to­ri­us at re­cep­ti­on for col­lecti­on by Joy.

Dr Mark Ma­rais with the mem­bers of the Hap­py Hands K­nit­ting group, Ko­bie Pie­ter­sen, Cla­re S­he­ard, Mi­ran­da Luck­hoff, De­ni­se Wel­don, Joy S­har­pe and (front) Dot Hob­son. T­hey are seen he­re with the be­a­nies, scar­ves and ot­her hand­ma­de i­tems knit­ted for ma­ri­ners.

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