The Peggy Purl knitting group at Bupa Glenburn Retirement Village in New Lynn give back to their community by donating the knitted goods they have made to local charities. The enthusiastic ladies meet weekly to create beautiful blankets, booties and scarves for people who really need them.
In 2015 an article in the Western Leader about 4-year-old Maddison Giles’ journey struggling with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia caught their eye and Maddi became their beneficiary.
More recently, the Glenburn Peggy Purlers began knitting for Give a Kid a Blanket, after seeing an article last year in the Beacon. Give a Kid a Blanket is a charity which collects blankets and other warm items in the winter months and distributes to children and families in need.
In an interesting twist, Maddison and her mother Penny Hinchelwood have become part of the Give a Kid a Blanket network, picking up donated blankets and delivering them to the warehouse, and it is they who now call in to Glenburn to pick up the blankets from the Peggy Purl group.
The origins of Peggy Purl groups reach back more than 80 years, when thousands of blankets made from Peggy Squares, knitted by children, helped keep New Zealanders warm during the Great Depression.
Peggy Cook, nee Huse, was the face of the Peggy Square in 1930. 4-year-old Peggy used to knit small woollen squares to make into blankets for her dolls. The idea was an inspiration for a National Radio campaign. Listeners were asked to knit six-inch Peggy Squares to be sewn together as blankets for needy kids and their families. Several thousand blankets were made over three years.
More than 70 years later the idea was revived by Peggy’s daughter Adair Eady and co-founder Lynn Dawson who restarted the knitting phenomena in charities and community groups.