How to knit a St Luke’s lottery win into a sociable money spinner
When Lynne Matthews had a lucky £250 win on St Luke’s weekly lottery last summer she thought about giving it straight back. Instead, the passionate knitter invested her winnings in an inspired plan that’s earned four times that amount to support her favourite charity, as well as creating a weekly social get-together for craft fans.
Retired teacher Lynne reckoned that using her windfall to buy balls of good quality wool and recruiting fellow knitters to magic them into items to sell, would be a great way to raise money for St Luke’s, while indulging in her favourite hobby.
“I really love to knit but I don’t have any babies at home to knit for any more,” said grandmother Lynne as she put the finishing touches to a beautiful little cardigan in candyfloss pink.
She put out a call asking if anyone would like to join a weekly knit and natter group at Fort Stamford Health and Fitness – next door to St Luke’s base at Turnchapel – on Wednesday mornings, specifically to raise funds for the charity.
“I’d never done anything like it before, and I was a bit nervous when I started, but it’s gone really well. Lots of people have come along and since July we’ve raised more than £1,200 from that initial £250,” explained Lynne. “I do the St Luke’s Lottery every week and previously I’ve won a few pounds and given the money back. This time I thought it was an opportunity to do something more.”
Now there’s a core of around a dozen knitting and crochet fans of all abilities turning up, usually before or after their swims or exercise classes. Lynne provides the needles, wool and patterns – and even free expert tuition for beginners – and people choose what they feel confident enough to make, although she suggests themes if anyone is stuck for ideas.
“We natter more than we knit, to be fair, but we do carry on knitting or crocheting at home,” said one regular member of the group. “We have a good laugh and we put the world to rights a few times on a Wednesday. I think we all have some sort of link to St Luke’s – there is always someone you know who has been supported by St Luke’s.”
Since July 2022, Lynne – whose grandmother was cared for by St Luke’s back in the 1990s – and the Fort Stamford group have hand-crafted dozens of wonderful items including hats, scarves, gloves, baby and children’s clothes, toys, blankets and bags. Out in the corridor at the club, all the work is on display while the group meets, courtesy of owner Royston Sumner, and it’s been selling like hot cakes.
The project has blossomed organically, with some people who no longer knit popping in to donate wool and needles, while others have asked Lynne to create special items for them, like the very cute toy dogs that are very popular.
At Christmas the most coveted items were little red knitted stockings to hang up for Santa, personalised with people’s initials. The group are currently working on special Valentine’s Day and Easter themes, with little chicks popping out of eggshells sure to be bestsellers.
Lynne’s Knit and Natter group meets at Fort Stamford Health and Fitness, Stamford Lane, Jennycliff, Plymouth on Wednesdays from 9.30am to 11.30am when their work is also for sale. Everyone is welcome to come along – you don’t have to be a club member to knit or to buy!