Petworth says goodbye to knitting star

Betty Watney knitted tiny hats for St Richard's Hospital maternity unit.C121504-2

Betty Watney knitted tiny hats for St Richard's Hospital maternity unit.C121504-2

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A WOMAN who knitted nearly one thousand hats for newborns at St Richards passed away on April 9.

Betty Watney, 87, of Petworth, left a legacy behind her after her tireless work creating and donating the hats to the hospital.

She told the Observer in an interview last year: “Apparently all newborn babies lose a lot of heat through the top of their heads and they all have to have a woolly hat, so that’s what I am doing – knitting them all a hat to go home in.”

Betty started the project nearly two years ago, and the hats were given to premature babies and discarded once the babies went home, but now they are given to parents as a keepsake.

And it is clear her gifts were treasured after parents left their tributes to Betty and her hat making skills on a social networking site.

One mother, Sanya Gracalo, said: “We still have our sons little hat he was given in St. Richard’s hospital nearly three years ago. Really small acts if kindness with great love.”

Charlotte Laukes who owns the Cotton Wool Store in Petworth, used to collect the hats Betty knitted, and passed them onto the midwives from St Richards.

She said Betty’s work was ‘heartwarming’.

“There have been lots of messages from people saying it is so lovely, I still have my hat,” she said.

“Thank you Betty from us and all the little heads born at St Richard’s.”