Guildford Philanthropically United Retired Ladies Society (PURLS) member Norma Nicoll knits a child's sweater at the Guildford Recreation Centre.

‘We laugh, we talk and we help’

The Guildford PURLS stitches together a love of knitting and philanthropy

Sitting at a large round table inside the seniors lounge at Guildford Recreation Centre, a small group of local women quietly work on hand-crafted woolen clothing.

Members of the group have come for various reasons – some looking for a social get together, others to learn a new skill, but they all share a love for knitting and a desire to give back to their community.

Since 2002 the Guildford P.U.R.L.S (Philanthropically United Retired Ladies Society) has been hand knitting primarily children’s clothing for various charitable groups throughout Surrey.

Over the years the group of mostly seniors have raised nearly $20,000.

“It’s really about the ladies getting together as a social event, we all like to knit so this is all a byproduct of that,” said member Norma Nicoll, who has been with the group since it’s inception. “We get together, we laugh, we talk and we help people.”

All the wool is donated and all the sweaters, scarves, preemie hats, mitts and blankets are either donated to local groups or sold at three sales throughout the year, with all proceeds being donated.

Sales take place on the last Friday of June September and November.

”The only rule we have,” said Nicoll, “is if you knit for charity, we supply the yarn, if you want to knit for yourself, you supply the yarn.”

Last year P.U.R.L.S donated $500 to the Surrey Food Bank, $250 to the Surrey Animal Shelter, gave free hats to premature babies at Surrey Memorial Hospital, gave adult clothing to the Front Room and donated any unsold kids clothes, along with $500, to the Guildford High School Growing Together program, for young moms still in high school.

“It’s a nice hobby because you can pick it up and lay it down at any time,” said Nicoll. “It doesn’t require a specific amount of time.”

The group is almost all seniors, with the odd “senior in training” who hasn’t reached the required age of 55.

If you are a seasoned knitter, or want to learn, drop by the Guildford Recreation Centre seniors lounge Wednesdays between 1-3 p.m. Everyone is welcome.

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