Delighted charity champions showed miles of generosity when they knitted together a plan to make sure children in need across the globe don’t get left out in the cold this Christmas.
Ann Walsh, chairwoman of the Cancer Research Uk Relay for Life, was overwhelmed with support when she sent out a rallying call to people to knit scarves to line the route of the annual 24-hour event at Monkton Stadium, in Jarrow in July.
She managed to thread together an incredible deluge of donations not only from within the borough - but as far away as Pittsburgh in the United States.
A fantastic haul of 1,500 scarves - enough to stretch across a mile and fill four laps of the track - were collected before being sold on to raise cash for Cancer Research UK, but hundreds were still left over to help another worthy cause.
Mrs Walsh, who has organised the Relay for Life since its launch nine years ago, handed over the colourful array of scarves to be used in this year’s Operation Christmas Child shoebox appeal, run by the borough branch of the Samaritan’s Purse.
The scarves will be packed into shoeboxes along with an array of gratefully-received clothing, toys, school supplies, toiletries and sweets, to children across the globe in need of a festive boost.
It has been unbelievableAnn Walsh
Mrs Walsh said: “It has been unbelievable. There was a big response on Facebook and we even had someone get in touch from Pittsburgh who knitted a scarf and sent it over to us.
“I never knew so many people knitted.
“We had so many of the library knitting groups and church groups get involved.”
The final total was given a major boost by supermarket giants Tesco , with the branch at Simonside, in Towers Place, one of a number of stores which has had workers knitting away busily.
Helen Frame, who works for the supermarket chain and is on is on the Relay For Life committee as well as being a cancer survivor herself, and has collected 630 scarves from customers, family and friends.
Carol Hall, area co-ordinator for Samaritan’s Purse, said; “We have hundreds of scarves that will be used in our shoeboxes. It as a fantastic idea. We are very grateful.”
An impressive 9,309 shoeboxes were dispatched from the borough to help children in Belarus last year.
The final destination for this year’s charitable donations is still to be decided.
Residents can bring in goods to the charity at their warehouse at Holystone Industrial Estate, Hebburn, from 11am until 1pm until the half-term break and from 9am to 4pm from November 2.
The group also have a drop-off point at Jarrow’s Viking Precinct.
Next year, the Relay for Life will be collecting purple scraves - the symbolic colour for the fight against cancer - to mark the tenth anniversary of the event.