Real Life

HELPING HANDS: The powerful story behind how Margaret Addicoat has been keeping those in need warm for 12 years

Plus, how you can help vulnerable people and animals stay warm this winter.
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Balls of yarn and handknitted blankets in every colour of the rainbow are piled high in Margaret Addicoat’s cosy home.

The 86-year-old began the craft as a child, going on to make clothes and toys for her own children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren before turning her skills to charity for the last 12 years.

In 2019 she began knitting for Knit One Give One (KOGO) a not-for-profit organisation making winter woollies for people undergoing hardship, and she has been donating monthly ever since.

“I’ve always got a project on the go,” Margaret tells Woman’s Day from the home she shares with husband Noel, 82.

‘I put a piece of my heart into every stich’

(Image: Phillip Castleton)

Margaret, who coordinates 50 volunteers among her neighbours in Balmoral Gardens Retirement Village in South Wantirna, Victoria, has her doorbell buzzing up to 10 times a day with volunteers dropping off their creations!

“I’ve got a few ladies here who have got arthritis and they can’t knit any more, so they will come and give me money and when wool is on special, I’ll go and buy more. For the last couple of years, I’ve been able to supply them all with wool. They come down and get the balls and drop off the garments they’ve done,” she smiles.

The knitting volunteers meet every Tuesday.

(Image: Phillip Castleton)

“There are some women [in the retirement village] who meet every Tuesday socially and they knit and have a cup of coffee and show each other what they’re doing. I collect what they’ve done, and we have a nice social morning.”

Carefully stitched with love and care, Margaret collates dozens of blankets each month that are distributed by KOGO to homelessness services, refugees, remote Indigenous communities and safe homes for families fleeing domestic violence.

Margaret has been knitting for over two decades

(Image: Phillip Castleton)

“If you can do something to keep somebody warm, you do,” says Margaret, who is a giving pro and even helped start an overnight shelter for homeless men in Ballarat in the late ’70s.

“Every time you finish off a knit you know someone will be very grateful for it.”

Hazel, Margaret and Graham are dedicated crafters.

(Image: Phillip Castleton)

To date, Margaret and her knitting angels have donated more than 5000 items and she has no plans to slow down.

“I’ll do this for as long as I can,” she smiles.

“There’s so much satisfaction in helping somebody. Every item you knit is going to help somebody who needs it.”

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