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Nurse Sarah wants close-knit Blanketeers to expand across UK

Karen Mulholland

Caption: Nurse practitioner Karen Mulholland models a blanket crocheted by Emma Cathles

22 January 2018

A nurse wants to create a close-knit community across the UK, helping patients nearing the end of their lives.

The Colchester Blanketeers charity was set up by Sarah Sands in November last year and more than 30 members have already been recruited, meeting every second Saturday at Colchester Hospital, knitting blankets for end of life patients.

The charity was also set up to try and combat loneliness, offering members who can become socially isolated, a chance to come together and meet other people.

The blankets are offered to the patient’s relatives after their loved one has passed away and Sarah, a sister on the acute cardiac ward at the hospital, is keen to spread the word across the country.

“It would be great to see Blanketeers groups set up across the country,” said Sarah, whose group members have so far knitted around 60 blankets.

“I have been in touch with staff at King’s Lynn Hospital who are keen to start a group and it would be nice to expand into nearby Ipswich Hospital too.”

“The blankets give lots of comfort to people and can have quite a profound effect on both end of life patients and their relatives and loved ones.

“We try and make the patient’s room as homely as possible and the blankets help make them less sterile.”

Sarah added: “We encourage families to bring in their relative’s favourite toiletries and spray the blanket with an aftershave or perfume.

“That not only comforts the patient but also those left behind when they have gone, who can take them home and give them a cuddle.”

Sarah, who doesn’t knit herself, said: “The other side of it is the social aspect and the group is aimed at ending loneliness and getting together people that may not get out much.

“Some members come to the group and they have never knitted before, while others bring in blankets every week.

“It’s incredible how the Colchester Blanketeers has taken off.”

The Colchester Blanketeers meet every second Saturday in Training Room South at Colchester Hospital at 11am.

Issued by Colchester Hospital University Foundation Trust communications team.