Bid to reach target of 20,000 bears
Murray Halberg Retirement Village residents have joined in a Ryman-wide campaign to knit 20,000 teddy bears for displaced children in Ukraine.
Around a dozen keen knitters in the village have put their needles to the task of making the cute bears with the aim of sending them over to Ukraine to be distributed in care packages.
With the latest village tally close to 100 bears, the knitters have recruited family members and friends to help them reach the ambitious target.
“It’s a fairly straightforward pattern so I’ve got my sister-in-law involved,” said Sandra Finch who had knitted around 15 to date.
The idea was the brainchild of Ryman Healthcare’s Victorian Sales and Community Relations Manager Debra Richardson, who fostered a Ukrainian boy called Yuri following the Chernobyl disaster.
With Yuri now back in Ukraine fighting the cause, Debra said this was a small but tangible way that Ryman residents, team members and the wider community could make a difference to the lives of the youngest members of the war-torn country.
“Being so far away it can be difficult to know how we can help,” Debra said.
“Thousands of Ryman village residents are avid knitters, and this project empowers them to use a skill that they are experts in to send a symbol of love from afar.”
For Murray Halberg’s Maureen Knowles, arthritis had slowed down her knitting, but she was determined to contribute to the cause.
“I have managed to make two bears so far. It takes me a lot longer these days but it struck a chord with me,” she said.
Velma Gordon had made eight bears, in between her other commitments of knitting blankets for the local church.
Many of the ladies also knit for Middlemore Hospital, Mission Without Borders, Pregnancy Help, KidsFirst, Mummys in Need as well as for their own grandchildren.