Perth knitters together for the seafarers

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Seafarers across the world are benefitting from Perth’s long-standing shawl ministry. The ecumenical knitting group, which meets in St Leonard’s church hall in Perth, provided 150 hats and neck warmers to ensure seafarers are wrapped up well for all manner of weathers.

Doug Duncan, who is Port Chaplain in the north east of Scotland to seafaring charity Stella Maris, welcomed the loyal volunteers to the Granite City  – and then made their day by arranging for them to visit a ship.

Photos by Euan McArthur

Doug said: “I spoke with the knitting group who’ve been so generous over the years. I decided to assess their fitness and if possible, see if we could arrange for them to visit a vessel which we managed. They were delighted to be given the opportunity to do so and it rounded off a wonderful day for everyone.”

The Shawl Ministry was first introduced from America in November 2010 by Rev. Ellen Marquardt, a visiting Pastoral Assistant for St John’s Kirk and St Leonard’s in the Field and the Minister’s wife, Catherine Wallace.

Since then, they have been meeting on the last Saturday of the month from September until May (except December) in St Leonard’s Church Hall, where they enjoy a time of fellowship and a cuppa. The 30-strong group knit and crochet Prayer Shawls to give to people at home and abroad to celebrate special occasions and also to offer comfort and support through difficult times. Their first project was to knit squares to make blankets to be presented to each of the four City Centre Churches who were hoping to work together.

Since 2012, they’ve been involved with other projects including knitting baby blankets and tiny clothes for Ninewells Hospital Neo-Natal Unit for premature babies and also for Labour Suite. 

Back then, they also touched base with Stella Maris in Aberdeen and began providing knitted Hats, Scarves and now Neck Warmers. Those two are their longest projects and they have also provided thousands of items over the years. They also donate blankets, knitted items of clothing and knitted soft toys, and there are always donations made towards Christmas by some members of the group and friends, while also assisting families in our local area as well as further afield.

At the end of every meeting, they have a time of ‘Blessing’ where they gather round the tables of knitted items and lay hands on them and say a prayer.