Teddies for Zambia

A photograph of a little Zambian girl clutching a doll that was falling apart so touched the heart of Antrim woman Pearl McCormick she began to knit! The 69-year-old, who knits teddy bears as a hobby, now has 110 teddies in a box ready to be sent out to Kitwe, northern Zambia. And she’s still knitting! Pearl is one of many parishioners who responded to a plea for donations.

Pearl, who has been ill and suffers from memory loss, has knit teddies for a variety of charities over the years. She uses double knitting wool for the teddies which come in three sizes. They all have brightly coloured tops and scarves, and each has a character all of his own. It is very much a labour of love. Pearl said: “When we were children we had nothing. Any clothes that were too small were cut up and made into quilts. Nothing was ever thrown out. I am going to keep knitting teddies until the container is ready to leave. I do not like to think there are little children out there who have nothing, the same way I had nothing when I was a child.” She added: “I try to make a wee happy face on each teddy. I hope the children like that.”

Pearl, who used to do a lot of sewing, has also donated her large collection of spools, threads, bobbins, brocade, elastic, needles and other items which Archdeacon McBride said will be of great benefit to the women’s sewing programme which is underway in Kitwe. “The programme is all about giving people self- sufficiency,” he said. Archdeacon McBride said the teddies would give a huge amount of pleasure of schoolchildren in Kitwe. “The school we are trying to support has virtually nothing, so we are collecting everything from pencils to desks for them. The teddies Pearl has knit will bring great joy to many, many children who have never had a toy of their own.” This article was written by Karen Bushby, Diocesan Communications officer for the diocese of Connor

Thanks to the generosity of Pearl and our parishioners in raising over £10,000 we will be able to do a great deal to help our brothers and sisters in Zambia. Already we have helped to fund a water tower at the theological college and bought a tractor and four oxen for a farming project. Now wait to see how the money we raised will be used in the diocese. We hope to put a roof on two churches; provide more funding for the home care team, a project which delivers much needed food and medicine to people suffering from Aids/hiv and other illnesses. We also hope to send some sports equipment, chairs, desk, blackboards and stationery to the school we visited. The farming project which is in its very early stages needs finances for seed and fertilizer and equipment. We hope to fund some improvements at the theological college.