Women’s Institute and Essex Freemasons form a Tight Knit Group

A simple but great idea giving support to premature babies and their families during this difficult time

Two great British institutions have collaborated recently to help the local community. Local Essex Freemasons (founders of the newly established ‘Cross Keys Community Fund’), and members of the Women’s Institute (WI) in Thurrock, are working together on an incentive to provide knitted toys and clothes for a local based charity ‘Colourful Beginnings.’

Colourful beginnings provide support, care and companionship to families with premature babies, and provide a platform for all those affected by premature births to come together to support each other, no matter what stage they are on their Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) journey.

Around 60,000 babies are born prematurely every year in the UK. This means that 1 in every 13 babies are born before 37 weeks. At Colourful Beginnings, they support families with premature and sick babies in NICU’s all over the UK.

Monies raised by the Cross Keys Community fund, was used to purchase a huge amount of wool, crochet and knitting needles and other materials necessary to knit Octopus and Jelly Fish comforters, baby bonnets and blankets. The ladies from the WI were only too happy to oblige with the incentive and have used their regular Arts and Crafts workshops to use the materials to knit and crochet hundreds of the much-needed toys and bonnets.

When premature babies are born, the weight of most of them is around 500g (that’s half a bag of sugar) because premature babies’ systems are not fully developed.

Feeling the closeness of parents has a significant effect on babies’ recovery and growth. However, many parents are not able to hold their babies close in some cases as they are so tiny. That’s where the octopus comforters help. Baby holds the tentacles of their little friend, which helps to keep them calm, because the octopus tentacles resemble the umbilical cord whilst baby is in the womb.

The octopuses also serve a dual purpose whilst the babies are in NICU by taking comfort in holding the octopus tentacles instead of pulling those life-saving tubes and cables out.

David Barton, Chair for the Cross Keys Community Fund commented,

“It’s ‘such’ a simple idea, that can make ‘such’ a huge difference to all the families that need some support at ‘such’ a difficult time. A special thank you must go to Sue Leech (Wife of Freemason, Barry Leech) from the WI, who has made this project such a success.”

For further information, or if you would like to support further, please contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Link: https://www.colourfulbeginnings.com/



Top: A baby with Octopus Comforter in NICU

Right: Sue Leech (WI), Dave Barton, Maggie (WI)

Left: Sue Leech and Knitted Octopus Comforters, Clothes and Bonnets