How a woman is helping Turkey earthquake victims to cope with her mum’s death

Denise (L) and the first parcel of knitted toys and hats for Turkey earthquake victims (R) <i>(Image: Denise Haworth)</i>
Denise (L) and the first parcel of knitted toys and hats for Turkey earthquake victims (R) (Image: Denise Haworth)

A woman grieving the loss of her mum is channelling her kindness and creativity to help earthquake victims in Turkey.

Denise Haworth, 57, of Read, has knitted toys and hats to send to people in Turkey whose lives have been turned upside down by the effects of the devastating earthquake in February.

Following the death of her mum, Mavis Butterworth, Denise went to Turkey for a week's holiday in May 2022 to help her grieve and received such a warm welcome during her stay went back for another break in October.

Denise said: “I was grieving and broken when I arrived but the hospitality shown to me by the people and the ex-pats living in the area helped mend me. The people there were absolutely fabulous.

“When the earthquake hit, I was devastated. My mum had taught me how to knit 50 years ago so I thought, I’ll do what my mum did because she used to knit hats for soldiers in Afghanistan and charities, and do some knitting for the victims in Turkey.

“The parents of children there have got more important things to be spending their money on than toys so I thought it would be nice to make some toys to send.

“It’s gone a bit quiet when it comes to Turkey but it isn’t going to be rebuilt overnight and it isn’t hot over there at night time. It isn’t going to be sorted by this winter so I’m carrying on knitting for as long as I can.

“I can’t afford to go back this year and the postal system there is dreadful so a lovely couple in the hotel who I met there have agreed to take the knitting over in their suitcase when they go in May.”

Denise put a call out for help and received a response from a neighbour who has knitted 10 of the 27 hats.

Denise said: “I had a flare up of rheumatoid arthritis but you’ve got to keep your fingers moving. It’s wonderful because when my mum died, she left quite a lot of wool and I’ve had some donated so it all needed using.

"Rheumatoid arthritis gives you severe fatigue so it stops me going to sleep in front of the TV at night so I just click away all night.

“My mum would be really proud of me so I’m happy I can do this to help others like she did.

"If anyone wants a bobble hat or octopus, I’m more than happy to make them for a small donation so I can send them to Turkey.”