Rasen crafters urged to help save wildlife injured in bushfires

Gail belinda Lee, seated left, with some of the kind-hearted crafters EMN-200113-070534001
Gail belinda Lee, seated left, with some of the kind-hearted crafters EMN-200113-070534001

A Market Rasen business owner is encouraging kind hearted crafters to help the wildlife affected by the fires raging through Australia.

Gail Belinda Lee, who runs The Stitch Witch in Union Street says she was touched by the scenes she saw of the animals being affected by the devastating fires.

She said: “I saw quite a lot of things on the internet of these poor creatures and I thought I wished I could do something.

“The government didn’t seem to be doing anything and I just thought us crafters would be able to help.”

While starting to put a plan into action, Gail heard about ‘Paws Across the Ocean’, so now she is working with the Lincoln-based founder Jayne Fisk and the crafting community worldwide.

Today - Monday January 13 - Gail is holding a drop in craft day at the shop, from 9.30am to 3.30pm to give an extra boost to the project.

Grab your knitting needles or crochet hooks and go along to craft together.

Gail said: “I will make sure there is tea and coffee to keep everyone going, but crafters need to buy their own wool and material.

“The important thing is to get together to help this good cause.”

Only set up a week ago, the Paws Across the Ocean Facebook page has already got more than 4,600 members, all wanting to do their bit - and Market Rasen is no exception.

Gail said: “For the past week, the shop has been a real hive of creation.

“Local crafters have been crocheting, knitting and sewing marsupial pouches and nests .

“We have had people calling into the shop to say they can’t knit or sew, but want to make a donation towards the cost of materials and getting the items to Australia.

“Jane Hills has donated a beautiful teddy that we are raffling off, with the draw at the end of the month.

“We have patterns for people to take away too and I am offering a 10 per cent discount on fabric to people who want to buy fabric to make pouches with.”

Gail and her crafting crew have already sent off a number of items, including ‘joey pouches’ in various sizes - no mean feat when each has an outer and three liners.

One of those busy crocheting nests is Fiona Evans, who heard about the Paws Across the Ocean initiative from her daughter who lives in New Zealand.

Fiona said: “It is amazing that she heard about it before I did, but it shows the impact.

“Everyone is helping in their own little way, which is great.”

Gail added: “The fires will have a long-term effect on the wildlife, so we will keep going for as long as is needed.”