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When you are walking down the North End of Deal, Kent, keep your eyes peeled as you might spot some familiar faces… Deal Grandmother Pat Wilson has been knitting topical characters since 2011 when she purchased the book, ‘Knit Your Own Royal Wedding’. She knitted the whole family ahead of the Prince William and Kate Middleton’s big day and since then, she hasn’t stopped!
Knitting The General Election Candidates
In 2015, Pat knitted all the candidates for the General Election including Conservative candidate David Cameron, Labour’s Ed Miliband, and then UKIP’s Nigel Farage. Not knowing what to do with them, Pat created satirical scenes in her front window on Griffin Street. Later window displays included Theresa May’s play on Rule Britainnia - Brexitannia, Queen Elizabeth II pouring a Donald Trump teapot and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s engagement.
"Theresa May, she's probably one of my favourites...I pictured her on the beach so I'm going to miss her being around...she's been quite popular over the last three years but Boris is in progress at the moment so he's going to be in the window with his harness on his zip wire!"
The knitted characters have gained a big reaction from the local residents over the last few years. Pat stays up-to-date with the news and updates her window accordingly. She has covered the Brexit Referendum, kept the score at the FIFA World Cup, and even knitted a tally of Britain’s Olympic achievements.
"The reaction was just incredible, people walk by and you see them laughing and smiling at them so that inspired me to just keep going!"
Pat has been using her knitting hobby to fundraise for the Deal based charity Martha Trust by participating in their charity car challenge to Rome.
"We bought a £200 old banger and because of the knitting, we decided that we would actually use the car as the fundraising vehicle so we decorated it with a knitted cover, parked around town, on the pier, various places and we ended up raising £5,500!"
It was on the way back from the trip that the ‘Grans On The Run’ was spotted by an events company, ICHF Events, who invited Pat along to their national craft shows. The first show they attended, Pat asked the visitors to completely cover a camper van in knitted squares.
It was such a success Pat was invited back the following year to work on a very important project.
"They said 'how about you do all our shows next year… we want you to commemorate the end of the war and women getting the vote'. So, we invited people to make four inch squares because we [had] designed two big 4 metre square panels."
Pat is now a regular at combining her love for knitting and fundraising and runs an award-winning craft community online called Grans On The Make.
"Jenny Eclair wrote a piece in The Independent a few weeks ago saying that hobbies were the backbone of Britain, they have the capacity to change neighbourhoods. It's a sort of trickle effect, if you inspire somebody they inspire somebody else... and it's just so exciting to watch and say 'oh that's because of us!'"
Thanks for reading "Meet The Kent Grandmother Behind Deal's Famous Knitting Window" on January Media.