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Australian bush fires: Bishop's Stortford crafters respond to appeal to help animals

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The crafting community in Bishop's Stortford are putting their skills to good use to help some of the millions of animals impacted by the catastrophic Australian bushfires.

The Making Place, based at the Peek Business Centre in Woodside, off Dunmow Road, is holding special sessions for the nimble-fingered to knit, crochet or sew items as part of a global appeal by Australia’s Animal Rescue Collective.

These include joey pouches, koala mittens, bird and rodent nests and bat wraps as well as blankets and beds.

It is estimated that half a billion native creatures have perished in the bushfires that have devastated New South Wales, Victoria and beyond since September.

Suzanne Harding, who opened The Making Place in October, said that the scenes on TV had been “heartbreaking” to watch, but she had been inspired by the efforts to help the wildlife caught up in the crisis.

“I’ve just been trying to focus on the positive news stories of the people who've been out helping these poor animals,” said Suzanne, 41, who lives in Stansted with husband Jonathan, a parish councillor, and their six-year-old son, Isaac. “It’s unimaginable."

Bush fires burn very close to residential homes about 20 miles from Sydney (AP Photo/News Ltd)
Bush fires burn very close to residential homes about 20 miles from Sydney (AP Photo/News Ltd)

Suzanne said that there had been a good response to the appeal, with several people attending a special crafting session on Friday. Those who were unable to stay to make something instead donated spare fabric and materials, or asked how they could make a monetary donation, she said. Thursday's regular Knitternatter, from 6pm to 8pm, will also be dedicated to the cause.

“We’re planning on doing as much as we can to help,” she said. “Australia is just coming into its summer, so unfortunately the bushfires that would normally occur at this time of year are still to come, so I envisage we'll be supporting the appeal for some time.”

For information on how you can get involved, or to find the correct patterns for the items needed, visit The Making Place page on Facebook.

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