A Whangarei woman has become the decoy-grandmother of all Scarfies this week after her hand-knitted beanies were snatched up in seconds.
Geraldine Edwards has been sending the Otago Chaplain, Greg Hughson, regular boxes of hand-knitted beanies for the past few months. Her only request: they be given to students free of charge.
74-year-old Edwards said the idea came to her after she was concerned about her grandson, a first-year at Arana College, and “how cold he will find the Otago winters”. Edwards said her grandson “already got some use out of his beanie and scarf, it being so cold”, so she thought other students “could take advantage of that too”. Edwards then contacted Hughson in order to ensure the beanies make it to students.
Edwards, who works as a real estate agent, has been mass-knitting beanies since the Christchurch earthquake and was looking for another cause to solve with wool, saying that knitting for others “helped her feel useful”. Over 40 beanies have been sent in last few months, and she says there are more on the way.
One student, Whitney, initially missed out on a beanie and took it upon herself to email Edwards and request a special beanie in gold. Edwards said she was happy to oblige, “[it was] rather nice that she managed to get back to me, [it was] good to hear that she got some comfort that far away from home”.
Last Tuesday a new set of beanies was given away under the Student Union building, with one student saying it was “cool to be helped out by a complete stranger … It’s good to know that there’s people like that out there.”
Hughson, who is also a lifetime member of OUSA, said the beanies have been a major success. “We’ve tried to give them to people who don’t already have one, and it has been universally well received with gratitude and astonishment that someone would care,” he said.
In regards to Edward’s grandson, “I’m not sure if he knows what his grandma is doing,” chuckled Hughson.