AGED ten, it was Francesca Towers who encouraged her family,
friends, and the Canterbury Cathedral knitting
circle to help her make more than 100 small woolly hats for Big
Knit, a joint fund-raising campaign between Age UK and Innocent
The hats are fitted on top of Innocent drink bottles this month,
and, for each bottle sold, the drinks firm will give 25p to Age UK
towards its Spread the Warmth efforts to help older people during
the cold winter months. That can include extra visits, extra
blankets, hot-water bottles, warm meals, and social gatherings. So
far, some million little hats have been knitted.
Francesca was inspired to take part in the Big Knit when she saw
an advertisement in a local branch of Age UK, even though she had
never so much as picked up a pair of knitting needles. She went for
help to her grandmother, Ivy Calvino, who is the merchandise
manager at the Canterbury Cathedral shop.
Mrs Calvino taught her to knit, and enlisted the aid of her
colleagues in the cathedral's knitting circle, which meets once a
week. "Knitting was more difficult than I thought," Francesca said.
"I had never made anything like this before, but, with everyone's
help, we managed to make and create some wonderful hats."
Within two months, more than 100 hats had been knitted. They
were presented to the Chief Officer for Age UK in Canterbury, Dr
Neil Brown, who said that the dedication shown by Francesca "was
In December, Francesca was presented with a Good Citizen Award
by Boughton Parish Council for her charity work during 2014. Among
her other charitable efforts, she has cut off her own hair to raise
money for the Little Princess Trust, which makes wigs from real
hair for children who have lost their hair through cancer