South Shields' knitting nana still helping South Tyneside charities as she approaches 90
South Shields’ own knitting nana, who has raised thousands for charity, is still going strong as she approaches her 90th birthday.
Olivia Liddle, who turns 90 on August 28, has knitted hundreds of handmade items for South Tyneside causes over the last three decades.
Her knitting has raised thousands of pounds for charities including, Cancer Connections, Breast Cancer Care, St Claire’s hospice in Jarrow, South Tyneside District Hospital and Queen Elizabeth hospital in Gateshead.
Having knitted she was 14, Olivia, who lives in Westhope Road, Harton, made her first item for charity around 30 years ago, for St Claire’s Hospice, where her father died of cancer.
She has since donated countless items to raffles and fairs, with a repertoire ranging from aran cardigans, to lifeboat men and Easter chicks.
She has even sent her sought-after items across the world, to family and friends in Greece, Canada and Scotland.
Now on the verge of her 90s, she shows no signs of slowing down. One of her most recent projects was knitting some Newcastle United and Sunderland AFC footballers for Cancer Connections.
“I’ve knitted all my life,” said Olivia. “As you get older you have got to have a hobby, and this is mine. It keeps me going.”
She added: “I just feel grateful to be able to what I do, and I’m proud that my family is proud of me.”
Olivia, who says she doesn’t feel 90, still goes out every day on the bus and attends a ‘knit and natter’ class at Horsley Hill Community Centre once a week.
“She’s one in a million,” said granddaughter Helen Graham, 36. “She’s so heartfelt, she’s always looking to give rather than just take. The charities she knits for are all quite close to our hearts.”
With three daughters, four grandchildren and soon-to-be five great-grandchildren, when she’s not knitting for good causes, she’s kept in demand by her own family, most of whom live in South Shields.
“She’s the go-to knitter,” added Helen. “You can ask her for anything and she will be able to do it.
“She’s fitter than us, there’s no signs of her slowing down just yet.”