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Knit & natter sessions help stroke victim regain motor skills

8 August 2017

Knit Natter 1
A 75-year-old woman in Hull has regained better use of her hands thanks to knit and natter sessions regularly held for residents at a Hanover Housing Association Retirement Housing development.

Five years ago, avid knitter Sandra Blackburn suffered a stroke. Shortly afterwards she realised that the three-bedroom house she was living in was too large for her to manage, so with the backing of her family and friends she decided to move to Albion Court in Anlaby Common.

When she first started attending the knitting group Sandra would sit down and chat to her friends and neighbours before drifting off to sleep in her chair. Following some encouragement by Sally McGaughey, Hanover’s estate manager, Sandra began to join in with the sessions. At first she needed lots of support, but after a few weeks she progressed from doing a few simple stitches to making hats.

Sally McGaughey said: ‘Sandra has taken to life on the estate like a duck to water. It's pleasing to see the progress she has made in such a short time. The Knit & Natter group has a great community spirit. They regularly knit for local charities and the residents help each other, especially if a member of the group is struggling to cope with a difficult stitch.’

Sandra Blackburn said: ‘I think it’s fair to say that when I first attended the sessions I just took part in the nattering aspect. I’m really grateful to Sally and the others for helping me to improve my concentration and get my hands working again.'

Since it began, the social group has knitted for the likes of the Shoe Box Appeal for Third World Countries. They have also picked up their knitting needles to help produce woolly fish for a display in the Hull Fishing Heritage Art Exhibition, part of the Hull UK City of Culture 2017 celebrations. This event sees some 6,000 fish knitted in honour of lost trawlermen from Hull. The group are now busy knitting remembrance poppies for a display on the estate and locally.

When she is not knitting, Sandra enjoys studying history and socialising with family, friends and neighbours.