KEEN knitters put their skills to good use as they joined in the Basingstoke Big Knit – creating 350 squares in a day for charity.

The event, held in Festival Place, saw 75 knitting enthusiasts taking on the challenge to raise money for St Michael’s Hospice, in Basingstoke.

The women, who ranged in age from teenagers to ladies in their 70s, spent the whole day knitting.

Jenny Crawford, of the Basingstoke Knit and Natter group, organised the event with her friend Catherine Hopkins, and said the day was a huge success.

Mrs Crawford said: “We just wanted to do something to raise awareness of knitting and to raise money for a local charity, and this was a really fun way to do just that.

“The reaction from people walking past was great. So many people stopped to have a chat or to pick up the needles themselves.

“Knitting is something everyone can learn, and it’s really very therapeutic, and good for relieving stress.

“We chose to help St Michael’s Hospice as it is a fantastic local charity, and we were invited to spend a morning up there before the day itself. Hopefully, we will be going back soon.”

The ladies knitted an impressive 350 squares betw-een them, which are now being transformed into five knee blankets for people being treated at the hospice, in Aldermaston Road. They also put out collection boxes, into which passers-by were donated money.

Borough Mayor Councillor Dan Putty and his Mayoress wife Julie Putty spent a couple of hours at the event, with Julie knitting a square of her own.

Mrs Crawford said: “It was lovely of them to take such an interest. We will definitely be holding another event next year and it will be even bigger and better. We’ve got very big plans.”

Chris Griffiths, marketing manager at St Michael’s Hospice, said the charity was very grateful for all the knitters’ efforts, adding: “It was a fantastic event.”