NEWBORN babies who are taken into special care will be provided with an extra bit of comfort thanks to an Andover-based quilting group.

The Sprat and Winkle Quilting Group has donated 45 hand-made quilts to the Neonatal Unit at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester.

The group, who meet fortnightly in Goodworth Clatford Village Club, made the decorative donations as part of an annual charity drive.

The heart-themed quilts will be used to comfort premature and sick children while they are in the unit and parents will also be able keep them once their baby leaves the hospital.

Chairman of the group, Lizzie Clarke, said: “We announced it in February and we displayed them all at the end of the school term so it has taken four of five months to complete.

“It’s lovely when you see all of the quilts together. Everyone is always really supportive.”

The group, which has been operating for more than four decades, take part in a charity drive each year. Every two years, the group donate small quilts to the hospital’s neonatal unit.

In each year between those donations, the group host an exhibition in which they sell off their quilts and the money raised is donated to a charity of their choice.

Mrs Clarke, a teacher at Rookwood School, said: “It’s nice to work on a project like this. We also do two quilting sessions at Rookwood each year which is great for the children.

“Quilting is a very popular hobby for young people nowadays - particularly in America.

It’s really easy to learn as well.”

“We are very lucky because we have two great quilting shops in the town and places like Salisbury and Winchester don’t even have one.”

The group, whose age ranges currently range from 30 to 70, is always open to new members.

Anyone interested in joining the group should email Mrs Clarke on lizzie.clarke@