Self taught knitter warms others

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HELPING OTHERS: Trying out the knitted hats made by Linda Parkes (left) are Canterbury Westpac Rescue Helicopter critical care paramedic Cameron Horner and aircrew officer Corey Milnes (right).
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Linda Parkes of Ashburton has knitted almost 1000 items for charity in recent years.

She is currently knitting hats for patients of the Canterbury Westpac Rescue Helicopter and Flying Doctor Service, and has already reached about 300.

This follows knitting for the City Mission, to which she gave five scarves, 42 pairs of slippers, 57 pairs of mittens and 584 hats.

‘‘I enjoy knitting. For me there is nothing better than sitting on a lakeside or in the bush when we are caravaning, listening to the birds and knitting,’’ Parkes said.

‘‘Knitting has been a part of my life. I now have arthritis and the doctor advised me to keep knitting as it helps keep my hands and fingers moving.’’

She had a memorable beginning to the hobby, at the age of 10, when her mother started to teach her the craft.

Parkes is left-handed, which presented a challenge to her right-handed mum, who in the end said ‘‘Teach yourself’’.

Parkes did just that, and by the age of 13 she had knitted her first jersey.

As a busy mum of three, and later as a grandmother, she knitted many items for her family.

LIFE TIME JOY: Linda Parkes knitting has reached hundreds of people, including those at the Christchurch City Mission and Canterbury Westpac Rescue Helicopter.

Knitting for charity began when she was at an Ashburton Relay for Life event, and Kate Murney was organising her team to knit for homeless people helped by the City Mission.

‘‘She gave me some needles and I knitted a hat over the weekend.’’

The scarves, slippers, mittens and hats followed.

It was at a vintage car club event she heard about knitting for Westpac Rescue Helicopter and the Flying Doctor Service.

Her huge output saw her running out of wool in January. Her daughter put a post on Facebook, and she now has more than enough.

‘‘I couldn’t believe the response. I am so grateful to everyone who gave me wool,’’ Parkes said.

Canterbury Westpac crew chief Rick Knight said he and fellow crew members were grateful.

‘‘We keep a couple on board the chopper in the survival packs for whenever we go out to pick up people who have been injured, or become stuck out in the countryside.

They might be cold and in need of some warm clothing for the trip to the hospital, or out of their difficult situation,” Knight said.