'FISH and chip babies' in South Africa will sleep a little warmer thanks to a dedicated group of knitting nannies.

With their fast flying needles, a group of 12 ladies meet every month at Milton Methodist Church to knit tiny jumpers and hats for vulnerable newborns in South Africa who often have to be wrapped in paper and plastic bags for warmth.

Olive Lovelady, who lives in Sutton Courtenay, has single handedly knitted 1,010 jumpers and hats for the youngsters in the two years she has been with the club.

The 85-year-old said it takes her a day to make a jumper and saw first hand what happened to newborns when she lived in the country.

She said: "I have knitted since I was four years old and I wanted to get involved because I do not like sitting around doing nothing all day.

"There was this opportunity to do something useful and I used to live in South Africa so I have seen how babies were wrapped up in plastic bags.

"It is nice to have the opportunity to be involved with something that helps these babies."

Once the clothing has been knitted, the items are sent by courier to South Africa.

In total the group, which was started two years ago, has knitted more than 1,500 garments.

But is not only clothing for babies Mrs Lovelady knits.

The grandmother added: "I have also knitted about 20 twiddlemuffs for people with dementia."

Twiddlemuffs are knitted muffs with different bits and bobs attached.

Many patients with Alzheimer’s, arthritis and dementia find them comforting and therapeutic as they help encourage movement and brain stimulation.

Mrs Lovelady is not the only one making a difference with her needles.

In a separate campaign, 70-year-old Ann Tolley from Sutton Courtenay has made more than 650 Easter chicks to raise money for Great Ormond Street hospital.

Her 11-year-old granddaughter, Jess, was the brains behind the knitted creatures - which come in a multitude of colours - having been a patient at the hospital herself.

Mrs Tolley said: "She is a very compassionate and nice girl.

"She wanted to raise money for the hospital and she had seen these Easter chicks and asked if I could start knitting them at the club.

"She even knitted one herself.

"They take about three hours to make but finishing the chicks off is quite time consuming."

Currently they have raised £900 for the children's hospital by selling them to friends and family and by having a stall outside Morrisons supermarket in Fleet.Pi

Reverend Katherine Pickering Methodist minister for Milton said: "I think it is fantastic what the group are managing to do to help charities both locally and in other parts of the world.

"It just goes to show you what a little bit of heart can do.

"These ladies are fantastic and we hope this will inspire more people to pick up their needles and knit for others."