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Shotley/Holbrook: Patients and staff at doctors’ surgery knit for Rwanda’s “fish and chip” babies

18:02 18 March 2014

Staff and patients at Shotley GP Surgery have been knitting baby jumpers, hats and blankets to be sent to Rwanda with the Engalynx charity.

Staff and patients at Shotley GP Surgery have been knitting baby jumpers, hats and blankets to be sent to Rwanda with the Engalynx charity.

Kind-hearted staff and patients at a doctors’ surgery have been busy with their knitting needles.

Nearly 600 jumpers, hats and blankets have been carefully crafted by those at the Holbrook and Shotley Practice to send to children, known as ‘fish and chip’ babies, in Rwanda.

The knitting project, in aid of Engalynx, was the idea of practice manager, Julia Smith, who helped with a project at a previous surgery.

Michelle Buchanan, senior administration assistant, said: “Julia knitted before and when she came to us it just snowballed.
“She got us all knitting. Some people who hadn’t knitted in aeons and others who hadn’t knitted before got involved.

“Various members of staff knitted dozens of items before we put a display up at each surgery explaining the charity’s work and examples of some of the things that had been knitted.

“Before we knew it we were inundated with knitted things.”

Engalynx was set up by Maralyn Bambridge, from Birch Drive, Brantham, in 1998, out of concern for the suffering and trauma of the orphans of the Rwandan genocide when up to one million people were killed.

She envisaged the charity to be of a practical nature, bringing comfort and helping to educate the children.

Many of the Rwandan babies are born to families with AIDS. They got their ‘fish and chip’ babies nickname because they are wrapped in newspaper at birth, due to a lack of clothing.

Mrs Buchanan added: “We have had hundreds and hundreds of items and we are still receiving them today.

“The next shipment goes to Rwanda at the end of the month so we can still accept knitted items up until then.”

“We have been so touched by everyone taking part and wanting to give their time and energy.”

Engalynx has fundraised for a maternity unit in Ntunga, Rwanda, and now Mrs Bambridge wants to equip it.

The unit should be built by the end of September.

Visit for more information about the charity’s work.


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