A stitch in time saves Nain at Pendine Park

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A team of young knitting stars have come up with a “purl” of an idea to help people with dementia.

The five pupils from Llay CP School have made twiddle blankets and mitts for the residents of Pendine Park in Wrexham.

Pupils from Llay Primary School have made twiddle blankets for the residents of Pendine Park’s Bryn Bella. Pictured: Residents Sue Mullaley and Sara Baur along with Pupil Chantelle Jones (centre) Skye Edwards, Pendine’s Nicky Clarke, Sarah Edwards, teacher Anna Gordon, Pendine’s James Wallice, Chris Jones and pupil Skye Edwards

They were given a warm welcome when they presented their natty gifts at the Bryn Bella care home.

Among the pupils who came was Hannah Singleton, 10, whose grandmother is a resident there.

She said: “I come to visit her quite a lot. My Grandma taught me to knit a bit and Mrs Gordon at school.

“I enjoyed making the twiddle blankets and I think the residents will use them a lot. I enjoyed meeting the residents and seeing how pleased they are with the twiddle blankets we have made.”

Pendine Park’s consultant artist-in-residence, Sarah Edwards, revealed it was the children themselves who came up with the idea of creating twiddle blankets after visiting their intergenerational workshops at the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod.

She said: “Anna Gordon, a teacher at Llay CP School asked whether children could make twiddle blankets for residents of our care homes who have dementia.

“Twiddle blankets and muffs are small knitted sections of blanket that have buttons, ribbons and other small harmless items attached to them.

“They can be very comforting for people with dementia who can become agitated. Being able to sit and basically fiddle with or examine the attached objects helps keep them calm.

“It has a calming effect and it’s clearly something some dementia sufferers find therapeutic.”

Teacher Anna Gordon explained: “We were looking for a new project after making dog blankets for Battersea Dogs Home. My colleague Margaret Davies overheard a conversation about the merits of twiddle blankets and how they can help agitated dementia sufferers.

“We talked to Sarah Edwards while we were on a trip to the Llangollen Eisteddfod and decided we’d tackle the blankets as our next project.”

She added: “Five girls have stuck with the project from the start. None of them could really knit before and I’m so proud of what they have achieved.

“It’s lovely, having been invited to Bryn Bella, that the girls can see for themselves how their hard work will benefit some residents.

“It’s been an amazing project and perhaps after the summer holidays we can look at making some more and getting even more children involved.”

Pupil Chantelle Jones, 10, was proud of what she and her fellow knitters had achieved.

She said: “My nana taught me to knit but I forgot really. Then my mum showed me again and then I learnt in school. We knitted five twiddle blankets and attached buttons and ribbons.

“We all really enjoyed making them. Instead of going out to play at break time we’d work on our blankets instead.”

“I’ve really enjoyed coming to Pendine Park and meeting the residents. They seem so nice and are very friendly.”

Sky Edwards, 10, said: “I couldn’t knit before but learnt in school. Mrs Gordon did it with us as well as Mrs Williams, our head teacher.

“I really enjoyed knitting them and once you’ve learned you don’t forget. I liked talking to each other while we worked. We learned about each other and made good friends.”

Bella Edwards, 10, added: “I’m really proud of what we have done and I have really enjoyed meeting residents at Bryn Bella and understanding them.”

Morgan Mathias, 10, said: “I did do some knitting with my mum but I have learnt a lot more from Mrs Gordon. I really enjoyed making the twiddle blankets and making new friends. We all got to know each other well as we talked while we knitted.

“I’ve really enjoyed meeting people here at Bryn Bella and seeing how pleased people are with what we have made. It makes me really proud.”

Bryn Bella manager Tracey Smith added: “The gifts the girls from Llay CP School have brought along are absolutely fantastic.

“They have clearly put a great deal of effort and hard work into making these items and I’m absolutely certain they will be very well received and used by our residents.

“It was lovely to welcome the girls and Mrs Gordon to Bryn Bella. The residents, not of all of whom suffer from dementia, enjoyed meeting and talking to them.

“At the time of their visit residents were engaged in one of our art therapy sessions and the children enjoyed discussing the resident’s art work with them.

”It was perfect timing because enriching lives across the generations is at the heart of everything we do at Pendine Park.”