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90-year-old knits her 500th hat for Operation Christmas child

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iris hope

Iris hope with some of the hats she has knitted.

A 90 year-old from Melksham has knitted her 500th hat for the Operation Christmas Child appeal. 

Iris Hope was inspired to knit so many hats for the appeal which each Christmas is responsible  for collecting and delivering thousands of shoeboxes to children across the globe, who would not otherwise receive any presents.

Iris said, “I decided I wanted to help having read about the good work that Hilary McFall and her team at the Melksham branch of Operation Christmas Child do in the Melksham News. That was years ago when the appeal started in a warehouse behind Woolworths and since then, I have just wanted to help where I can.

“I find that knitting the hats helps fight boredom and it’s good to know it goes to a good cause.  Now I am 90 I don’t think I will be able to do so much as my fingers don’t work as well as they did! I did put a note in with the hats a few years ago to say who they were knitted by and someone did ring me and thanked me.

“I am just happy to help where I can and I buy the wool myself, although some has been given to me.”

Bev Viveash from Operation Christmas Child said, “It’s absolutely amazing what Iris has achieved and we are so grateful. It means 500 children will benefit from her generosity and will be able to keep warm. Hats are one of the things we really need so it’s wonderful to hear of Iris’ hard work.”

In the past, shoeboxes including hats knitted by Iris have been sent all across the world including Belarus, Ukraine, Romania and Liberia. In 1992, there was around 47 shoeboxes collected from the Melksham area. Last year, the appeal collected over 25,000.

The shoeboxes are stored in the Operation Christmas Child warehouse at Unit 12, Hercules Way in Bowerhill. This year, the shoeboxes will be sent to disadvantaged children in Eastern Europe.

Anyone interested in donating to the appeal can drop items into the operation’s warehouse in Bowerhill on Wednesdays between 10.00am and 4.00pm. Alternatively, if you are interested in volunteering, or would like to book some of the volunteers in for a talk, then pop into the warehouse or call 01225 705775.