Kinglassie woman helping animals injured in Australian fires

Gail Cheney hard at work knitting joey pouches
Gail Cheney hard at work knitting joey pouches

A Kinglassie woman has responded to an urgent appeal to help the animals caught up in the devastating Australian bush fires.

It is estimated that the number of animals killed as blazes have swept across eight million hectares of bushland in recent weeks has reached over 500 million.

Thousands more have been injured leading Animal Rescue Collective Craft Guild (ARCCG) to call on people across the globe to produce pouches, wraps,blankets and more for orphaned wildlife.

Foster carer Gail Cheney, who has been knitting for more than 40 years, spotted the appeal on the Guild’s Facebook page and started knitting joey pouches, which are among the items most in need.

She has been aided in her efforts by the Kat’s Mission thrift store in Kinglassie, which donated a huge amount of wool and has started a fund to help pay for the postage to send the items to Newcastle in New South Wales, for those people who want to help but are unable to knit/sew/crochet.

Gail has also received postage bags as well as more wool from Allsorts in Campbelltown, where she is originally from.

She said: “Because I knit I am involved in quite a few Facebook groups including the ARCCG so when I saw their appeal I wanted to do my bit to help the animals.

“This has been a devastating situation for Australia and one I’m sure will still be felt many years, if not decades, down the line.

“The ARCCG put out patterns to follow and thanks to the kind donations I’ve received I got to work. Each pouch takes two or three hours to knit and I’m just making as many as I can before mailing them off.

“Obviously postage to Australia does cost a wee bit so if anyone wishes to pop into Kat’s Mission to make a donation I would be very grateful.

“Lots of people have been contacting me for information, patterns etc. It’s incredible how the community are pulling together to help out another country, but I’m sure were the roles reversed they’d do the same for us.”

It isn’t just through knitting that Gail is helping Australia as two of the companies she works for, Juice Plus+ and Tropic, are also doing their bit.

She said: “Firefighters risking their lives tackling the bushfires are getting some support from our Juice Plus+ office in New South Wales who are supplying them with our products for free.

“In addition as an individual ambassador for Tropic I have pledged to donate my commission earned to the disaster relief fund.”

For more information on ARCCG visit www.facebook.com/arfsncrafts.