Feature: 10 years of Maggie’s - craft group raising funds for cancer care centre

Some of the Made for Maggie's volunteers outside the centre
Some of the Made for Maggie's volunteers outside the centre

A group of dedicated women who say that Maggie’s Fife helped them to keep going during their darkest days are now using their talents to help repay our cancer caring centre.

Made for Maggie’s started up just before Christmas 2014 when it ran for just a few weeks, selling knitted baby hats and mittens from a stall in the entrance foyer of Victoria Hospital to raise money for the cancer caring centre.

Linda Gourlay volunteering on the Made for Maggie's stall

Linda Gourlay volunteering on the Made for Maggie's stall

It was initially set up by Lynn Wilson and her mum May Buchan, who it was named after, and who helped to knit the baby items, despite being in her 70s.

After Christmas they were asked if they would like to continue running a stall, and Made for Maggie’s now runs on the third Tuesday of each month, and offers a much wider range of goods including embroidered quilts, embroidered bags, pictures in frames, jewellery, greetings cards and much more, alongside the still popular knitted garments.

Last year it made an amazing £4500 towards the centre’s running costs, and is hopeful of making even more this year.

Lynn (54), from Kirkcaldy was diagnosed with non Hodgkins lymphoma, a cancer of the blood, in 2010, and began “tapping in” to what the Maggie’s centre offered.

Her cancer left her unable to walk and she had to relearn to do so through intensive physiotherapy, using a zimmer frame then progressing on to crutches. It was while having this that her physiotherapist suggested Maggie’s to her.

“I didn’t know much about Maggie’s and I thought there wouldn’t be anything for me here, but coming here helped me regain the confidence I had lost and I could speak to people who really understood what I was going through,” she explained.

“It was great to see people coming out the other side after their treatment and it really gave me hope that I would beat this, and I think most of us feel the same.

“So when we had the chance to repay some of the kindness and support we had been given by Maggie’s it was great to be able to do this through fundraising on the stall.”

The group of contributors and volunteers manning the stall has grown and there is now a core of 10 who take turns about on a rota basis.

Lynn’s mum still helps with the knitting and the stall has doubled from one table to two, with clothes rails also being added. Her dad Dunc has also become involved and makes the woolly pompoms for the knitted hats.

“We are often offered material, wool and buttons to help out, and any donations of this type of stuff is always welcome,” said Lynn.

“People will often hand in things for us to sell and storage was becoming a problem at the centre, but luckily the Fife Group has offered us storage facilities locally, which is a huge help.”

Cath Williams (67), added: “It is nice to be able to give back and help Maggie’s, that’s why we do this.

“I had my cancer years ago and my friend started using it and said for me to come along. I didn’t know it could be for people who had gone through cancer years ago, but it certainly helped me. I did Tai Chi to help me relax and also art therapy and writing which helped me realise what I had bottled up at the time.

“I do some sewing, making toilet and make up bags as well as shopping bags and a bit of jewellery. I’ve made a lot of friends and it is strange when someone calls you a volunteer, because you don’t feel like you are. It just feels natural to help out.”

Jan Galloway added: “There are always lots of people coming to the hospital to visit friends and relatives with cancer and it’s good, if they haven’t already heard about Maggie’s, to be able to tell them about the centre and what it can offer them.”