Happy Hands keep mariners cosy and warm
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.