Here at Love Handmade Towers, we love Local. Whether it’s local shopping, local eating out, or supporting local charities, we’re all for it. That’s why we offer a free stall at every one of our fairs to a local charity to do with what they will. They can use it to raise awareness, sell items they’ve made or simply have a snooze underneath the table if that’s where the day takes them! (We’ve yet to have anyone actually fall asleep, but they could if they wanted to!)
At our next fair, we have two local charities with half a stall each. They’re both worthy causes in their own different ways, and we would like to tell you a little bit about them.
The first charity we have on Saturday 3rd September is The MS Society. Its full name is The Multiple Sclerosis Society, and the local branch is in Leamington Spa, just down the road.
One of its members, Geraldine Edwards (pictured above with one of our cooperative, Jenn) was diagnosed with MS ten years ago, in 2006. LHF met with her recently to find out her motivation for raising money for the charity.
One of the first things we noticed when meeting up with Geraldine, was her passion for both the charity, and her knitting.
“I started knitting for this stall last November” she tells us “And I’ve been overwhelmed by the generosity of my family, friends and knitting groups. They’ve all given me extra items to sell on the day.” We can tell from the list she mentions how many lovely hand knitted items there will be on the 3rd September, her stall is going to be full to overflowing with hats, gloves, socks, scarves, blankets, tea cosies, and toys of every colour and description. As you can see in the photo, the items a of a very high quality, and beautifully made (which is our unofficial motto at LHF). In fact, we were wishing our head was small enough for the gorgeous little hat Geraldine’s holding in the picture, and no, we didn’t try it on just to check anyway!
“MS affects every sufferer in different ways” Geraldine tells us. “Everybody’s different, whether it be fatigue, mobility problems or many, many other symptoms. I knit to sit myself down in the afternoons. I make sure that I never let it stop me doing anything, but I do need to pace myself, which is where the knitting comes in.”
She certainly doesn’t let it stop her “doing her stuff” as she puts it. An active member of a weekly knitting group, Geraldine also attends The Townswomen’s Guild once a month, so has many opportunities to get involved in the local knitting scene, which has had a bit of a renaissance over the last years due to programs such as The Great British Sewing Bee, and anything with ‘Kirstie Allsopp’ and ‘Handmade’ in the title!
So, we can hear you asking the all important question: Where will the money actually go, and will it be used locally? The answer is a resounding ‘Yes!’ Geraldine is emphatic in her assurance that every pound raised will be used right here. “The aim is to raise as much money as possible so that we can continue our work in the local area.”
And that work can be an absolute life line. Geraldine considers herself to be “one of the lucky ones”. Her husband is on hand whenever she needs extra help, but many MS sufferers don’t have such a support base, which is where the work the MS Society does comes in, and is hugely important.
“The social events and outings we put on each year can be a major part of life for someone with MS. Often, people have little to no transport, so the minibuses and taxis are just as important as the event itself.”
Geraldine goes on to tell me about the coffee mornings, the Sunday lunch clubs, quiz nights and barge trips to name but a few. “Each trip needs to be carefully managed to check that everything is in place, even down to aspects that you expect to come as standard these days such as wheelchair access and a disabled toilet.”
To put it simply, Geraldine’s aim is “To get as many people out for different social activities during 2107”
It does sound simple, but it’s not so simple as we or you might have it: Think of the last time you texted everyone with a quick ‘Pub? 7.30 Fri. Be there!’ and it’s sorted. A lot more work goes in to enhancing an MS sufferer’s life, and we at LHF are very glad there are fabulous, dedicated people out there doing all they can to help. Right now, Geraldine wants you to come and buy a hat. Or one of the world’s most comfy pairs of knitted socks (Don’t knock it til you try it, it’ll be freezing before we know it!)
Share the Love. Buy Handmade. Visit our Fair.
For more information about the Leamington, Warwick and Kenilworth branch of the MS Society, please direct your clicky-mouse type object, or tap your finger here
For more information about Love Handmade Fairs, you should 100% deffo visit our website or our Fantastic Facebook page, do a little squeak of excitement and then visit us in person because we’re awesome and very smiley! We also have a huuuge amount of gorgeous handmade stuff to sell you, and the odd bit of cake or two, too!