Thursday, April 18, 2024

Sewing for Ukraine

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More than 70 items made by the Highland Park Sewing Group will be sent to Ukraine. Photo Zoe Garden

A volunteer band of knitting and sewing women have donated more than 70 items to be sent to Ukraine.

Founded more than 20 years ago by Howick grandmother Gretl Bass, the Highland Park Sewing Group is a community group that meets each week to make pyjamas, blankets, baby wraps, cot sheets and other items for those in need.

The garments go to Kidz First Children’s Hospital in South Auckland and charities caring for children and families.

St John makes its hall at Highland Park available free and from 9.30am-1pm each Thursday, the dedicated members of the group meet, mingle, and create.

The group repays St John’s generosity by knitting ‘trauma teddies’ which go in ambulances to comfort sick and distressed youngsters.

“We usually have around 20-30 people,” Bev Telfer, co-ordinator of the sewing group, says.

“So far this year 6500 items have gone to Kidz First, 4079 to Anglican Trust for Women and Children (ATWC) and 1000 to Dingwall Trust.”

Late last week a bag of clothing, which included teddy bears, blankets, pyjamas, slippers and sleeping bags, was handed over to east Aucklander and Ukraine-born Valeriy Boyko at the premises.

Boyko, and Howick dentist and fellow Ukrainian Elena Artyukh, have raised more than $30,000 in their campaign to send medical supplies and equipment and humanitarian aid to affected regions within war-ravaged Ukraine.

The donated items from the Highland Park Sewing Group will be a part of their planned September shipment.

“I think it’s just incredible,” Boyko says. “I appreciate everything they’ve done for us and Ukraine.”

Howick ward councillor Sharon Stewart, the organiser of the event, agrees with this sentiment.

“Highland Park Sewing Group is doing wonderful work for the community.”

This won’t be the last time the sewing group will aid the campaign – another bag of items will be made for Boyko and Artyukh, Telfer says.

Previously, Telfer created more than 100 flags for their Ukrainian fundraising campaign.
Local knitting and sewing groups that would like to help by creating hand-made beanies for the September shipment to Ukraine, should contact Stewart at

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