ENTHUSIASTIC knitters in Shetland have been a massive part of a campaign to save children’s lives, with over a thousand baby hats presented to Save the Children by isles MP Alistair Carmichael last week.
Earlier this year the charity made a plea for the tiny life-saving hats and has received sack-loads, which will help children around the world survive beyond their first day of life.
As the six-month Knit One, Save One campaign has now drawn to an end, 550,000 hats have been sent to Tibet, South Africa, Kenya, Burma, Zimbabwe and Afghanistan, meaning over half a million vulnerable babies now have a better chance of survival.
The woolly hats have meant the difference between life and death for newborn babies as they are unable to regulate their own body temperature.
The aim of the campaign was not only to prevent babies from catching pneumonia but also to build pressure on governments, asking them to prioritise saving children’s lives.
Knitters were asked to fill in action cards alongside their hats with personal messages and Carol from Shetland wrote: “All children deserve to be loved and care for. Enough is enough. Please, politicians can change lives. Please help now.”
Save the Children in Scotland spokeswoman Beverley Kirk said: “We really are impressed and hugely grateful to people of Shetland for getting stuck in – the response to this campaign has been fantastic.
“Knitting a hat is a simple act, most have taken less an hour to make on average, but your efforts have made an enormous difference and will save babies lives, preventing them from dying from such preventable diseases like pneumonia.”
Mr Carmichael, who knitted his own hat, said: “For the last few weeks hats have been pouring into the office and I am delighted that so many constituents have got involved in such a worthwhile campaign and that their hard work will contribute to saving vulnerable babies lives right across the world.
“The Knit One Save One campaign has now closed but I would be more than happy to receive any remaining hats which I can assure people will still be sent to those in need.
“Speaking to Save the Children recently they assured me that the hats I presented to them this week was the largest batch they had received from any constituency in the country.
“People don’t always realise how a little task such as knitting a baby’s hat can have such a huge impact on an individual on the other side of the world, so I would like to thank all those who knitted and helped in this tremendous campaign.”
Mr Carmichael attended Bell’s Brae and Sound Primary Schools last Friday and was presented with hats the pupils had knitted.
The knitting campaign has ended in the UK but Save the Children in the US are now asking knitters to take up their needles and urge President-elect Obama to make saving children’s lives a priority.