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Community / Blankets made in Shetland delivered to earthquake survivors in Turkey

Some of the blankets can be seen in this image. Photo: Operation Orphan

BLANKETS made by generous knitters in Shetland have been sent to Turkey to help those affected by the recent earthquakes.

The blankets were donated via the local group Loving Hands – Shetland, which is organised by Julia Odie.

She said they are being distributed on the ground by the charity Operation Orphan.

More than 40,000 people lost their lives in devastating earthquakes in Turkey and neighbouring Syria earlier this month.

Odie said she has been involved with Operation Orphan for over ten years and has carried out two trips with them in the past to Moldova and Sierra Leone.

She said it was “amazing” to see blankets made in Shetland help those in need in Turkey.

Odie takes in knitted donations from charitable Shetlanders year-round to provide to a number of charities.

Five parcels have been sent out this year, each weighing around nine kilograms.

Loose Ends in Lerwick set up a stall fundraising for the postage fund last summer, which has been described as a “tremendous help”.

Photo: Operation Orphan

Speaking about the donations which have ended up in Turkey, Odie said: “A lot of the knitting that comes in is anonymous so I’ve no idea who most of it comes from.

“I know I’m getting donations from Yell, Unst and Whalsay and from the North to the South mainland.

“A lot of donations are dropped off at Loose Ends in Lerwick, or I’ll come home and find stuff in my porch. I have a few lovely ladies who join squares into blankets as well.

“I send boxes as they get filled all year round. As well as Operation Orphan, I send to other charities, depending on what comes in and what they need.”

Operation Orphan co-founder Cyrilyn Moore said she “couldn’t be happier to see people’s hard work being used for something so good”.

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“Not only are the blankets helpful for keeping children warm but they are also helpful as a psychosocial tool, to begin dealing with the trauma the children have endured,” she said.

“The colourful blankets coupled with the fact they have been made by such kind and generous people sends a message of hope and of love.”

Last year 23 parcels of items like blankets, jumpers, hats and teddies were sent away by the group.

Recipients included the Highlands Support Refugees, the Alec Russell Education Trust, the Scot Baby Box Appeal and the Shetland Aid Trust.

The group also coordinated the delivery of jumpers from schools like Brae, Ollaberry and Hamnavoe to children in Sierra Leone.

Odie added that other members of the MRI Maakers group – which helped to raise thousands for the Shetland MRI scanner appeal – are the latest knitters to join the blanket making.

In an update on social media Operation Orphan said the scale of the disaster seen by its team in Turkey was “beyond imagination”.

It said it visited lots of families were had their homes destroyed, while 20 children who lost one or both parents were located and made safe.

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