" I even started dreaming of the chicks. Its been great fun seeing the incredible variety in the chicks people knit."
The Didsbury based hospice that supports families from across the north west, received the fluffy donations from hundreds of local supporters as well as nationwide by the sack load in the run up to Easter.
After passing through quality control to fix any loose beaks and to ensure that they can hold an egg, the chicks were stuffed with a small chocolate egg by the hospice fundraising team and a band of volunteers.
Businesses and over 60 schools and nurseries then supported the campaign selling the chicks for £1. The money raised will help towards the running costs of the hospice, currently at over £11,500 a day to provide services to support children, teenagers and young adults with life-limiting conditions and their families.
Last year’s appeal generated almost £27,500 in income from over 19,500 knitted chicks, and with donations exceeding expectations this year, the hospice is confident that total will be smashed.
Fundraiser at Francis House Rachel Astill said: “Every year the response is fantastic, and this year it has been overwhelming. I even started dreaming of the chicks. It’s been great fun seeing the incredible variety in the chicks people knit. Each seems to have its own personality. The biggest challenge has been keeping the balance between the chicken and the egg – we don’t want any empty nests come Easter.”
Seventeen years ago, eight hospice volunteers started the annual chick knit. Then in 2012, their ranks swelled after an appeal was launched by the charity in national knitting magazines and crafting websites.
Francis House Chick Knit facts:
• Total number of knitters 761.
• Total number of chicks 41,302.
• The largest amount of chicks by a single knitter - Janet Radford from Surrey with 725.
• Maria Dunbobbin from Cheadle Hulme knitted 400 unique chicks with hats and accessories.
• In total individuals, local businesses, schools, supermarkets and Cash and Carry’s donated over 36,500 crème eggs.
• Staff at Sky in Stockport collected the biggest donation of eggs with 2,052.
• Springfield Primary School in Sale sold the most chicks with 900.
• The furthest flung chicks were 10 from Tauranga in New Zealand plus 30 from a knitter in Texas.
“Next year we hope to get even more of the community involved, and it would be great to find more volunteers to help with stuffing, sewing and deliveries of chicks,” said Rachel.
It is hoped the campaign will raise more than £36,000 for the hospice. A video of the chick kniot can be viewed at Vimeo https://vimeo.com/211921567
Francis House is holding a public open day on Monday May 8 from 10am until 4pm. For more information call 0161 443 2200.