WI can’t give away knitted village due to ‘health and safety’

Beryl Kingman with the WI farm at the Sid valley horticultural society show. Photo by Terry Ife ref

Beryl Kingman with the WI farm at the Sid valley horticultural society show. Photo by Terry Ife ref shs 5410-34-13TI To order your copy of this photo go to www.sidmouthherald.co.uk and click on myphotos24 - Credit: Archant

Ladies of Sidford WI’s soft miniature creation to boost sick kids is health hazard risk

WOMEN’S Institute members cannot give away a knitted village they spent the best part of a year painstakingly crafting for sick kids – because it is deemed a ‘health and safety’ risk.

Their impressive miniature creation – which boasts intircate houses, trees, animals, a church and even a duckpond and a beekeeper – was made with the intention of it being gifted to a children’s hospice or hospital to comfort poorly youngsters.

But the 6ft by 4ft textile settlement, has been turned away because the soft materials it is made from cannot be sterilised.

Around 30 members of Sidford WI, most of them grandmothers, chipped in to make the scene from wool and cardboard during the winter months.

The group are now at a loose end over what to do with it.

“We were fed up of knitting scarves,” said WI secretary Beryl Kingman, 72.

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“We’ve been doing it [the village scene] since last September. Everybody has had a go at knitting something – even hedges. It really is quite a feature and we all thoroughly enjoyed it.

“Our idea was to give it to a school, hospital or children’s hospice. Because of health and safety issues it cannot be sterilised or disinfected, so you would have a problem with a children’s hospice or waiting rooms.

“We’re a bit stuck really. We didn’t think of this ‘health and safety’ when we started it, but it is understandable.

“All of us are of the age where we thought ‘our children and grandchildren would have loved that’. We started with the intention of giving it away to four or five-year-olds to play with – though they are all on computers these days.

“The children’s hospice said they were not allowed to accept it because they could not sterilise it.”

School Street resident Beryl, who has three teenage grandchildren, added: “We are still looking to give it away, but it’s the sort of thing that will have to go on show.

“It is not going to be a plaything unless we give it away privately to someone who doesn’t care.”

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