March 2, 2022 1.31 pm

Lincolnshire woman, 101, knitting clothes to send to Ukraine

Volunteers are also knitting clothes at a local craft shop

A 101-year-old woman in Spalding is knitting clothes to send over to Ukraine as she remembers the “heartache, the pain and worry” she felt when she was was separated from her husband for three years during World War II.

Elsie Pepper is part of a team of volunteers helping The Craft Outlet at the Springfields Shopping Centre in Spalding to knit hats, scarves and gloves, to help Ukrainian refugees.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has brought the feelings back to the fore again for Elise Pepper, who remembers the “fear and loneliness like yesterday” of when she was separated from her husband George during the war.

ALSO SEE: Where to drop off donations in Lincolnshire for Ukraine appeal

Family-run business The Craft Outlet also has a personal connection to the tragic situation as manager Eric Pepper’s wife Natasha, 50, who moved to Lincolnshire in 2006, is from Ukraine and has a lot of family and friends still in her home country.

In a few days they will be collecting Natasha’s 83-year-old mother from the Ukrainian border and whatever is knitted by then will be transported, with more to follow in the coming weeks.

Elise, who retired to Lincolnshire from London with her husband George, said: “At 101-years-old you’d be correct in assuming I’ve seen many things in my time. In WW2 as a young woman me and my husband were separated by war for three years.

“I remember the heart ache, the pain and worry. Perhaps most of all I remember the fear and loneliness like yesterday. It never leaves me.

“Today we see the same happening here in Europe before our very eyes as families are wrenched apart through no fault of their own.

“I remember the nation came together and each of us did the little we could do and a lot of little made a big difference. Please do the little you can do. We have a group of volunteers who will make sure it gets to the people in need. If I at my age can do a bit then I sure you can too.”

The Craft Outlet is located at the Springfields Outlet Shopping Centre in Spalding.

The Craft Outlet was launched by Elsie’s son Eric Pepper at the Springfields Outlet Shopping Centre in Spalding around 10 years ago.

It will be hosting weekly knitting and crochet sessions every Monday and Friday between 10am-5pm, and from 11am on Sundays. The firm’s suppliers have sponsored the initiative and have provided wool free of charge.

Eric told The Lincolnite: “I am proud of my mum. She has always been looking after people in the community, we grew up with it and we don’t see things any other way and want to do our bit to help.

“We know people who are in desperate straights in Ukraine and having their lives torn apart. My mother would say this is reminiscent of the Second World War – the ugliness and pain of separation and something that is unbelievable and for no reason.

“My mother is 101 and is a very wise woman, but age has taken its toll on her short-term memory. But she is fully aware of the pain and suffering, which she remembers like yesterday and wants to do her bit to help.”

Anyone wanting to get involved should pop into the store or call the shop on 01775 722249. The Craft Outlet can also collect knitted donations from anyone living in Sleaford, which can be delivered with the other clothes.