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Community / Knitting fundraiser for MRI appeal reaches big milestone

‘Not bad for something that began with a peerie toorie’, knitter says

Receiving a cheque for £3,200 for the MRI appeal at Jamieson's of Shetland last year. Left to right: Billy Middleton, Harriet Middleton (MRI Maakers), Elaine Jamieson and Garry Jamieson. Photo: Gordon Siegal

OVER £50,000 has now been raised for the Shetland MRI scanner appeal thanks to a local knitting campaign.

The MRI Maakers project, which is spearheaded by Shetland knitter Harriet Middleton, reached the milestone overnight.

Harriet said it was “not bad for something that began with a peerie toorie”.

On Tuesday evening a cheque for £3,200 was presented to Harriet and her son Billy – who helps with the campaign’s online presence – after the group received donations from sales of a new book of knitwear designs.

Marie Wallin pledged £1 from every sale of her Meadow book, which was launched at Jamieson’s of Shetland on Tuesday in the middle of Shetland Wool Week.

On top of this, more copies of Harriet’s knitting patterns were ordered overnight from New York – bringing the fundraising total to over £50,000.

Harriet was one of the first few fundraisers for the MRI appeal, which was launched last year in a bid to raise £1.65 million for the scanning equipment.

She launched the MRI Maakers group, which sees local knitters come together to create pieces which are then sold on to raise money.

A Fair Isle hat designed by Harriet has also sold quickly in both patterns and hats, with interest from across the world.

MRI Maakers also has a space at the wool week ‘hub’ at the Shetland Museum and Archives, while the group will host a knitting night at the Lerwick Town Hall on Thursday (3 October) from 6pm.

“It’s heart warming to see so many people caring for a cause that will make such a big difference to us here in Shetland,” Harriet said.

“They’ve been genuinely interested and keen to support us and it’s so nice to see some in person who have been following what we’re doing on the internet.”

Billy Middleton, meanwhile, said it was “quite surreal” how much support the project has had.

“Any time we’ve needed help with anything locally, the community have stepped up and helped,” he added.

“So many people here have a personal reason for being behind the fundraising effort.

“But what sometimes touches you more is how much help is offered by so many with no particular personal reason to other than simply being nice people and caring. This initial donation from Marie Wallin is a perfect example and we’re extremely grateful to her for everything she’s done.”