Kilham ladies’ idea goes global

WI members Heather Speck (left) and Judy Wilson with hospice nurse Michele Ansell (centre)
WI members Heather Speck (left) and Judy Wilson with hospice nurse Michele Ansell (centre)

Hundreds of heart-shaped cushions made with love are helping cancer patients around Britain and abroad after a simple project by a village Women’s Institute took off.

What started as a single cushion to help a woman with breast cancer mushroomed to such an extent that hundreds of patients, including many at Saint Catherine’s Hospice in Scarborough, are now getting comfort from the WI’s ingenious endeavours.

The whole thing started when a member of Kilham WI, Christine Booth, developed breast cancer.

Christine came along to the group with a heart-shaped cushion a friend had made for her which she could tuck under her arm to ease her soreness.

Fellow group members at the village were so impressed that they got busy sewing and soon had lots more cushions ready to help other patients.

Kilham WI member Judy Wilson said that what happened next took them all by surprise. “We went along to a trustees’ meeting held at a school and found the whole stage covered in hundreds of these cushions,” she said. “We just stood there and cried. We couldn’t believe what had happened.” 
Word is now spreading via the WI network nationally and other groups are busy making many more, including in Canada and Australia.

Kilham WI member Heather Speck said the group was now making cotton shoulder bags which people could carry following surgery to hold things like syringe drivers and drainage bags. The Kilham ladies are now driving round delivering the soft cotton cushions to places such as hospices and hospitals which can give them free to patients.

Judy added: “People tell us the things we are making are heaven sent, We just hope what we have started keeps going forever.”