Knitting gives May new lease of life

KNITTING has proved to be the ideal therapy and rehab for 84-year-old May Kenyon.

It has given May, who arrived at the HC-One run Millbrook Care Home on end-of-life care, a new purpose as her hobby has developed into a cottage industry and been the key to an amazing recovery.May, who has twice beaten cancer and overcome a serious heart attack, has been inundated with orders for teddy bears, Father Christmas and snowmen from staff, residents and visitors.

Over the last two months, May’s room has been filled with huge bags of wool, stuffing, patterns and needles, at a cost of more than £300.

May, who once had the distinction of being Manchester’s first professional foster carer, had always been a keen knitter for the children she cared for, making cardigans and baby clothes.

But after she became seriously ill – May admitted she is lucky to still be alive after three times being close to having life support withdrawn – knitting was the last thing on her mind.

May’s lack of mobility then meant she was also unable to walk and she had to be moved by a mechanical hoist but today, having lost five stone, she charges around the home using a walking frame.

As she recuperated from a heart attack, May attended a crafts class in the common room where she was given some needles and wool by wellbeing co-ordinator Abby Parker and told to have a go.

“It all came back and I knitted a purse which is how it started,” explained May.

Soon orders began flooding in and May’s only concern was whether she would complete all the orders in time for Christmas as the large ones take up to two-and-a-half hours to make.

May, whose daughter Sandra buys materials online, often knits until 10pm and she said residents are fascinated by her work.

She moved to Millbrook Care Home in October 2018 on end-of-life care due to her health issues and to be closer to Sandra, who lives in Ashton.

May, who has two daughters, one son and three grandchildren, was raised in Manchester where she was foster mum to more than 100 children over a 20-year period, something she described as the “best-ever job”.

She recalled when the Queen once visited Manchester’s Palace Theatre, one of her foster children was chosen to present a bouquet to her while her son was in the guard of honour.

In later life she moved to the opposite end of the age spectrum as a warden in three sheltered accommodation complexes in Manchester.

• Millbrook Care Home has an active social programme and in December residents went on a shopping trip to the Trafford Centre, some went to the pensioners’ party at The New Stalybridge Labour Club, were given a hand massage workshop, were entertained by singer Debbie McCormick and had a Christmas Eve party.

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