A former professional ice skater is using her needlecraft skills to raise money for the N&N Hospitals Charity Boudicca Breast Cancer Appeal.
Jan Gribble, from Hethersett, began making bags, pencil cases and other items earlier this year which are being sold with the proceeds going to the appeal, and already hundreds of pounds have been raised.
Jan was born in Blackpool and was a world-class ice skater, competing in the world professional championships, before going on to teach ice skating. After a season working with an illusionist in Blackpool, including being levitated in shows, Jan eventually trained as an accountant and moved to Norfolk with husband Tim.
Her skills with a needle are all the more impressive considering needlework wasn’t her strong point at school, but she started knitting in her late teens after an accident on the ice, and she later knitted blankets to fundraise for the home where her mum was living with dementia.
Jan said: “My sister died of cancer at the age of 54, my uncle died of leukaemia so it is very poignant for me. Freda, my cousin survived breast cancer and will be celebrating her 80th birthday next year and her love of dogs has been the inspiration behind some the designs on some of the bags.
“I am very aware that I am high risk when it comes to cancer and I wanted to do something for charity and that’s when I heard about the Breast Cancer Appeal and got involved.”
Jan also writes poetry and has penned a poem for the charity:
Every time I sew a stitch, And every bag I make. Another £1 is raised, For a cause I cannot forsake.
Cancer’s hit my family hard, Loved ones we have lost. To ease the pain or save a life, I give my time for little cost.
So every time I sit and sew, Each new design I start. I make them with my hands, But straight from my heart.
The items Jan has produced have been sold at the hospital summer fete and will be on sale at the Crafts in the Gardens event at Chapelfield Gardens, in August and again at the hospital’s Christmas Fair in December.
The Boudicca Appeal which was launched at the end of last year, has already raised £170,000 towards a dedicated breast cancer unit at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital which will offer a same-day diagnosis service to all patients.
N&N Hospitals Charity Head of Fundraising Louise Cook said: “We are so grateful for everything Jan is doing to support the appeal.
“We always look forward to seeing her new designs and they have already proved hugely popular with visitors to our summer fete and we are sure they will be a hit at the event next month.
“The new breast cancer unit will make a real difference to the experience which thousands of patients have each year when receiving care and we thank everyone who is supporting us.”
All the proceeds from the sales of Jan’s items go directly to the Boudicca Appeal and Jan is always on the lookout for cotton fabric, including sheets which can be used as linings, zips and threads. If you have any materials or other items you would like to donate, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information about the Boudicca Appeal visit www.nnhospitalscharity.org.uk/