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Shepparton knitters help sick penguins stay warm

Mercy Place Shepparton residents have shown their love of nature after knitting vests for penguins rescued from oil spills.

SIONNIE KELLY July 28, 2014 3:52am

Mercy Place residents Alma Lenon and Thelma Addams are some of the people who have been knitting vests for penguins affected by oil spills.


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Residents at Mercy Place Shepparton are giving a whole new meaning to penguin suits with their knitting skills.

During the past four months, two volunteers and six residents have knitted more than 100 vests as part of the Penguin Foundation’s Knits for Nature program.

The residents and volunteers have woven some warmth for penguins at Phillip Island Nature Park’s Wildlife Clinic. The penguins were rescued from oil spills and were too cold to be able to survive on their own.

The Penguin Foundation provided residents with instructions to knit either eight-ply or four-ply jumper which, once completed, looks a lot like a small vest.

Mercy Place resident Thelma Addams is one of the residents who has dedicated her time to knitting vests and said it was important to help the penguins.

‘‘It’s a service to the birds to keep them alive,’’ she said.

‘‘The little penguins that come out of the oil spill are really cold.

‘‘If they have the jacket on it makes it so much easier.’’

Fellow Mercy Place resident Alma Lenon has also made several penguin vests and said she was motivated to help them because of her love for animals.

‘‘I always thought they were beautiful little birds,’’ she said.

The volunteers and residents have knitted penguin vests in a range of different colours, including red, green, blue and even multi-coloured.

Ms Lenon said it was her niece that encouraged her and other residents to take up knitting for penguins.

‘‘My niece got it out of a magazine and then she got the wool and started us and it was amazing how it cropped up everywhere,’’ she said. ‘‘I sent a copy to my friend up in Sydney; she started knitting them and got other people too.’’

Mercy Place lifestyle assistant Jenny McCoy said it had been great for the residents to knit vests for penguins.

‘‘It’s good for self-esteem, it’s a worthy cause and they’re a very clever lot and it’s very social too,’’ Ms McCoy said.

The Penguin Foundation no longer needs knitted vests, so the residents have moved onto knitting possum pouches for baby possums who have lost their mothers and they are also knitting poppies for next year’s Anzac Day.

Mercy Place is looking for donations of pure wool so its residents can continue to knit pouches for possums.

‘‘Anyone willing to give us some pure wool, we’ll happily take it,’’ Ms McCoy said.

People interested in donating can phone Mercy Place on 58320900.

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