Meet Ethel Brolls, the knitting wizard who has helped thousands of children around the world from her home in Whithorn, Galloway.
Ethel Brolls is a lady with a huge heart. On watching a film about young children at her local Church one day, she went straight home and did what she could to help – knit!
Ethel, who was born in December 1947, has single-handedly knitted for hundreds of people around the world, and 19 years ago started a charity to help even more. The Ethel Brolls Children of the World Knitting Appeal has sent donations of knitted garments to people the world over. Here, 70-year-old Ethel tells us her story;
Can you tell us when you started knitting?
I first started knitting aged 5, on my Mother’s knee.
What gave you the idea to knit for charity?
I started my own charity 19 years ago. I first watched a film in the church from Blythswood Care who do the shoeboxes at Christmas time. The look on their wee faces just melted my heart that I thought, right Ethel, get the needles going!
I went home and looked out some wool, needles, and patterns and did a couple of jumpers. I took them very humbly to church one Sunday morning and asked the minister’s wife to post them for me to which came the reply – “That’s something you could do!”
Then I put out an appeal in The Sunday Post and it just has snowballed from there, it never stops.
What have been the highlights so far?
When I realised I’ve helped over a hundred thousand babies, toddlers, and children around the world.
If anyone is in need of a hat to provide that need, either they be a prem babe, or a homeless person, we all belong to God, no matter what colour or creed.
What is next for you Ethel?
I have taught myself to crochet from Youtube, and when I had very bad cataracts before surgery, all I could do was to crochet blankets for a local care home. Now I go on regular visits to another care home with 30 beds. I’ve got my eyesight back again, and now I want to make for all of their beds.
How do people get involved?
Now, I don’t know who knits for my appeal, it comes in from all over the UK. I’m very sure a lot who knit for me will depend on their knitting for the company, especially on a dark lonely night. Usually, parcels come through the mail or friends deliver their knitting.
What an inspiring lady!