Advancing Healthcare for the people of North Shore, Rodney and Waitakere

Knitter no quitter

Knitter no quitter

Over 1000 knitted bears for SCBU

Recovering from an operation in 2008, Jean Goodhew got restless and asked the nurses at North Shore Hospital if she could make some teddy bears for the hospital’s youngest patients.

Six years later, Jean’s tally of hand-knitted bears - given to babies who are in hospital at Christmas time – is thought to have topped a thousand.

Special Care Baby Unit Charge Nurse Manager Diane Chesney says the “very cute” bears are part of Christmas stockings that parents find on their babies’ incubators as a gift from Santa Claus on Christmas morning.

She says families appreciate the time and effort that has gone into the Christmas gifts.

“It’s a nice gesture to families to acknowledge that it’s a hard time of year not to have your baby at home”.

Jean works on the bears throughout the year, storing the woollen toys in boxes that gradually take over her spare room as the months pass. She makes an annual delivery before Christmas in time for the bears to be included in gift stockings for the hospital’s youngest patients.

“When the time comes, I pack them into the car and tell the bears that they’re going on their journey."

Volunteering brings own rewards

Jean says that volunteering her time has benefits for her, as well as the children and families whose hospital Christmas is brightened by the toys she makes.

“People are so grateful for what you do and it makes you feel so good that you’re doing something people appreciate.”

Jean says a letter of thanks from a young cancer patient is something she was particularly moved by: “I absolutely treasure that letter”.

Jean taught herself to knit as a child and has always loved to keep busy. She says knitting is an easy thing to pick up if she has a bit of spare time.

“It’s amazing what you can make out of nothing. It doesn’t need to mean big money”.

The bears are just one of Jean’s volunteer activities - she also gives her time to a hospice and the RSA.

“There’s so much that people need in the community and if you can help someone you feel good.”

If you would like to volunteer

We’d love to hear from you, please contact or call 09 447 0138


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