Nottingham Girls’ High School is celebrating its 140th anniversary this year and has held a variety of events to mark this in different and creative ways. One particularly special idea was for the thriving Knitting Club to make 140 baby bonnets for the neonatal intensive care unit at the City Hospital.
The Knitting Club is organised by Miss Rebecca Lewis and assisted by Sixth Form Prefect Tevi Nicolls, who said: “Knitting the bonnets was thoroughly enjoyable. It is surprising to think that something which started as a way of celebrating 140 years of NGHS has turned into such a rewarding experience which benefits the most vulnerable members of society.”
Unsure if the group would be able to produce this many bonnets in time, Miss Lewis sent an email out requesting help and was inundated with replies from the whole school community, and beyond – teachers, support staff, catering and domestic staff, parents and grandparents all took up their needles and set to work,. As Laura Tilly in Year 7 commented: "My grandma has helped so much, by sending in lots of bonnets that she has knitted. She also helped me when I was doing my bonnet - she is an expert!" As a result, the actual number of bonnets produced was 228.
The Nottingham University Hospitals’ Trust neonatal intensive care units provide expert medical care for premature and poorly babies, and support for their parents. The service they offer is invaluable and the school wanted to help in a practical way that was accessible to everybody. The bonnets help to regulate the temperature of these susceptible little newborns, and the unit was apparently running low on supplies
Nottingham Girls’ High School has an amazing record when it comes to supporting charities be it locally, nationally or worldwide, and fundraising efforts have amassed tens of thousands of pounds over the years. Recognising that there was another way to help this particular cause which also tied in nicely with the 140 theme was a wonderful and successful idea.
On Tuesday 5 July a group of girls accompanied by Miss Lewis, the School Nurse, Brenda Williams, and Head, Julie Keller, went along to the City Hospital to look around the unit and present Heather Nelson, who is the neonatal unit’s Family Care Co-ordinator, with their handiwork. Most of these girls could not even cast on before they joined the Knitting Club and started this project, and now they’re very proud of their achievements.
After talking to the girls and accepting their donation, Heather commented on how lovely it was to welcome the group and how attentive and engaged the girls were during their visit. She added: “We were getting low on the bonnets so we’ll definitely use them on the very premature babies, and on the bigger babies too. And we’ll tell everybody that they came from your school. Thank you very much.”
There will doubtlessly be other ways in the future in which the girls and staff at Nottingham Girls’ High School can combine their creative skills and talents and help the wider community in a similar way. The girls had already set their sights on the tiny blankets also in use at the unit, and the knitted toys that were being sold to raise money. Needles at the ready!