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How Norfolk's knitting nan is helping the homeless keep warm

PUBLISHED: 16:28 13 June 2019 | UPDATED: 16:28 13 June 2019

Jean North, at High Haven, in Downham market  Picture: Sarah Hussain

Jean North, at High Haven, in Downham market Picture: Sarah Hussain

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A Norfolk grandmother who learnt to knit in the Blitz has come up with a purl of an idea to help the homeless.

Jean North, at High Haven, in Downham market  Picture: Sarah HussainJean North, at High Haven, in Downham market Picture: Sarah Hussain

A Norfolk grandmother who learnt to knit in the Blitz has come up with a purl of an idea to help the homeless.

Jean North who lives at the High Haven care home in Downham Market, has spent the last few months knitting for homeless charity, the Purfleet Trust, and the baby care unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn.

The 89-year-old has knitted three blankets and more than 20 hats in the last few weeks.

The High Haven resident, who has lived at the care home for over three years, said: "I'm trying to repay some of the help they have given me. "If I can do something in return then I will. Just sitting in a chair all day would drive me around the bend."

Jean North, at High Haven, in Downham market  Picture: Sarah HussainJean North, at High Haven, in Downham market Picture: Sarah Hussain

It is a passion that she has had since being a little girl. Mrs North, who started knitting when she was around nine, said: "I enjoy my knitting. It makes me feel like I'm wanted and gives me a purpose."

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Mrs North, who was born and grew up in West Ham in London during the Second World War, said knitting was a helpful skill to have during those times. She said: "During the war various organisations would come around and ask if anyone was good at knitting and they would bring you wool and needles to make items they needed.

"I'm doing the knitting now to help people, there are people worse off than I am." She has knitted 300 squares that have been sown together and made into three blankets that will be given to the homeless.

The hats, which take her around half an hour to make, will be used for newborn babies at the Baby Unit at the QEH to keep them warm.

Mrs North not only knits for good causes, but she also helps around the centre. Allison Bullard, activities assistant at High Haven, said: "She deserves to be recognised for all the work she puts in. She's very dedicated. We do all sorts of activities to keep everyone living here entertained but Jean would much rather knit.

"She also helps by folding towels which gives staff extra time to help others elsewhere.

"Each of the residents here have their own interests and we like to encourage them to do it. But none are as dedicated to knitting as Jean is."

The Purfleet Trust and the QEH are yet to see the items Mrs North has knitted, she will be taken to the organisations to deliver them in person.

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