Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Crochet Craze Helps Me to Unwind, Says Tees Hero Jo

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Crochet Craze Helps Me to Unwind, Says Tees Hero Jo

Article excerpt

Byline: Ian McNeal news@gazettemedia.co.uk

AN ambulance worker who started a national charity crochet craze to make blankets and hats for babies has been recognised as a Teesside Hero. Jo Owen launched Blue Light Babies in her sparetime just eight months ago but she now has 2,000 people crocheting for charity across the country.

The group has produced tens of thousands of crocheted items for newborns across the country, while they have even set up drop-off points across the Northeast where volunteers leave their crochet creations for Jo's husband Dave and other volunteers to collect them.

It was only when bored at home after suffering a slipped disk that Jo came across groups on the internet who make clothes for premature babies in neonatal units.

She agreed to run a North-east group but within weeks her team of volunteers had gone nationwide and then overseas following an appeal on Facebook.

The charity group's members have knitted and crocheted more than 500 blankets and hats for all of the region's frontline ambulances, while they've also been asked to provide clothing for the area's neonatal units.

And the neonatal unit at the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, has received more than 500 pairs of bonding blankets, which are shared and swapped between mother and baby, assisting in the bonding process.

The Thornaby mum of two, who is an emergency care support worker for the North East Ambulance Service in Billingham, buys the wool out of her own pocket, delivering it to members who need it.

But her dedication to helping others regularly goes well beyond the call of duty.

Asked by one of her volunteers to help her daughter who had been a victim of domestic abuse, she organised collections of furniture, clothing and toys, hired a van and drove her donations to Sheffield to deliver the load to the young girl and her baby. …

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