Traffic-light hats for babies at Bassetlaw Hospital feature on TV’s ‘The One Show’

Clinicians Elaine Merrills and Michelle Clarke, who were heavily involved in the appeal, come under the TV spotlight
Clinicians Elaine Merrills and Michelle Clarke, who were heavily involved in the appeal, come under the TV spotlight

The ‘Traffic-Light Hats’ appeal for new-born babies at Bassetlaw Hospital in Worksop has featured on BBC TV’s ‘The One Show’.

Clinicians from the Doncaster and Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals Trust, which runs the hospital, appeared on the show after an outpouring of public support for the appeal on social media.

The trust’s labour suites and neo-natal units asked for knitted hats, mittens and bonding hearts in green, orange and red, with each colour signalling, at a glance, the level of care required for the babies.

More than 10,000 knitted hats and other garments were sent in, which intrigued the producers of ‘The One Show’ so much that they got in touch to find out more.

Filming over the course of two days featured Elaine Merrills, matron for midwifery, and Michelle Clarke, senior sister in the neonatal unit, both of whom were heavily involved in the appeal and are also knitters themselves.

When the piece was shown on the flagship TV programme, it attracted lots of interest. The episode can still be viewed on the BBC’s iPlayer until the middle of July.

Cindy Storer, the trust’s acting deputy director of nursing and midwifery and allied health professionals, said: “We have been truly stunned by the number of knitted garments we have received over the past humber of weeks.

“The generosity of people across the country and, in some cases, internationally has been heartwarming. We can’t thank enough those who have donated.”

More than 5,000 babies are delivered at the trust’s hospitals every year. The knitted items are used within the first 24 hours of a baby’s life and are then taken home as a keepsake.

So successful was the appeal when it was launched on Facebook that, within one day, more than 400,000 people had seen the posts.

Not long afterwards, the first garments began to arrive, with some packages received from as far afield as Canada, Australia and New Zealand. In just a few weeks, the appeal had reached more than one million people on Facebook.

The appeal is now closed but, with the help of ‘The One Show’ presenters, a fresh one has been launched. For the trust is asking knitters and crocheters to take up their needles and hooks to make some ‘twiddlemuffs’.

These garments provide sensory stimulation for older patients, who are often living with, or experiencing, dementia or delirium.

The ‘twiddlemuffs’ keep their hands warm and snug, and have also been shown to have benefits for patients with learning disabilities and those who are receiving chemotherapy as part of their cancer treatment.

The pattern and delivery instructions can be found on the trust’s website at www.dbth.nhis.uk/news/knitters-needed-twiddlemuffs-appeal-at-dbh.

As well as Bassetlaw Hospital, the trust runs Doncaster Royal Infirmary and Montagu Hospital at Mexborough. It provides wide range of health services to about 420,000 people in the area.