Sylvia donates 150 hats to premature babies

Sylvia McKeegan donating knitted hats to the neo-natal unit in Altnagelvin Hospital. Included in the picture are staff members Maria and Muriel.
Sylvia McKeegan donating knitted hats to the neo-natal unit in Altnagelvin Hospital. Included in the picture are staff members Maria and Muriel.

For the last 15 years Sylvia McKeegan has been knitting hats and cardigans for the tiny babies in Altnagelvin Hospital’s neo-natal unit.

The 94-year-old, who volunteers with a number of different organisations, paid a special visit to deliver 150 hand knitted hats for the babies in the unit just before Christmas.

During that time she has also knitted garments for children in Africa and according to her family can always be found with knitting needles in her hands.

Sylvia volunteered in the local Cancer Research shop for 20 years until a bout of ill health forced her to ‘retire’. It was a job she loved as she got to meet new people all the time and encounter people she hadn’t meet for years.

The Waterside woman admits she misses working in the shop but continues to volunteer with her church and other organisations.

Sylvia is a former shirt factory worker and began working in the thriving trade when she left school, but had learned to knit while she was in school.

“I’m always knitting and these wee hats are easy to do. I normally send them up to the hospital with my niece, who works there, and I know they really appreciate them for the babies. This year because I had so many I decided to take them up myself.”

Sylvia admits that knitting and volunteering keeps her occupied.

“I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t enjoy it. It gives me something to do, otherwise I would be sitting here doing nothing.”

She plans to continue knitting the hats for as long as she can and said the staff who received her gift for the babies were ‘absolutely delighted’.