Caring Sun readers fill FOUR warehouses with blankets for premature babies after our Christmas appeal

TO the thousands of you who knitted blankets for premature babies in our Christmas campaign . . .  a big THANK YOU.

To show our gratitude, we laid out 6,500 of the 20,000 blankets sent in for The Sun on Sunday’s Knit A Lot, Help A Tot appeal across a football pitch.

We launched it with Bliss, the leading UK charity dedicated to babies born premature or poorly, and your response was amazing.

Maidstone United FC in Kent loaned us their pitch for the day so we could display the huge haul.

Bliss chief executive Caroline Lee-Davey said: “We have been overwhelmed by the incredible generosity of Sun on Sunday readers.

"This has been the most successful knitting campaign in Bliss’s history.”

Inside each parcel and package we received was a beautiful blanket for a tiny baby. Many had been wrapped in Christmas paper with handwritten notes to the parents of tots, who will now receive them.

Reader Margaret Bailey 87, of Hastings, East Sussex, told us: “My son was born prematurely weighing just 4lb in 1967. He survived and grew big and strong and now has a family of his own.

“Thank you for the opportunity to help other little babies like my son.”

A reader from Kent gave one with a note saying: “Sending love in every stitch to your precious premature baby.”

This has been the most successful knitting campaign in Bliss’s history.

Another, from Banbury, Oxon, added: “I’ve been shielding since the lockdown began. This brilliant campaign has helped me use my skills, keep busy and help others.”

Football players from Maidstone’s under-19 Academy joined in as we spent ten hours emptying parcels that have been in storage during lockdown.

Their captain Lee Smith said: “It has been a huge task today but we have all loved helping. The lads are all smiling and happy. It’s unbelievable just how many people sent in blankets.”

Club secretary Ian Tucker said: “We were delighted to blanket our pitch at the Gallagher Stadium.

“Our academy players were keen to help and play their part. They are more at home with a ball than wool but did a fantastic job.

“And it was really humbling to see the efforts so many had gone to.”

East London Textiles Ltd took on the original collection of the blankets.

It is a specialist in the reuse of clothing and other used items, stopping them from being sent to landfill while helping charities to generate much-needed funds.

It was really humbling to see the efforts so many had gone to.

Director Gerwyn Davies said: “We were delighted to be part of this appeal. We were truly amazed at the fantastic volume of blankets and the warm and sincere letters.”

The Big Yellow Self Storage Company kept the blankets during lockdown ready for distribution, first in one gigantic storage unit then in four.

A spokesman said last night: “We couldn’t believe the generosity as sackful after sackful of blankets came into Big Yellow.

“It’s wonderful to know they will go to such a good cause.”

As we got more than we could have imagined, we can donate them to Bliss and FOUR other charities.

Next week we will show how we distributed them around the country.

  • A huge thanks to all who sent in blankets – but please do not send any more.

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