Hats Off to Lyn and Judith

A chance conversation at a wedding between Lyn Donnelly, a healthcare assistant at Cornton Vale Prison and Judith Rooney, a manager in the Women and Children’s Unit at Forth Valley Royal Hospital, has led to hundreds of hats being knitted to help keep newborn babies warm.

Instead of the usual ‘Tubigrip’ type hat, babies born at Forth Valley Royal Hospital now receive a beautiful handmade woollen version, thanks to the prison’s Knit and Natter group and a number of other local knitting groups and individual knitters across Forth Valley.

Lyn is delighted with the creativity shown by the staff and prisoners. She said: “Getting the girls involved has been great. The Knit and Natter group was already running with a small group of prisoners during recreation and it was a relaxing and calm environment. I printed off some quick and easy patterns for the girls to follow and even got staff and their families involved. Now knit one purl one for babies is the order of the day!”

Around 3,500 babies a year are born in Forth Valley Royal Hospital, which equates to approximately 290 births per month. Research shows that keeping newborns warm is paramount to the baby’s wellbeing, and wool is a far better insulator than any cotton product.

Putting on a hat can also help prevent heat loss and guard against conditions such as hypothermia and the risk of breathing problems. Warmth also helps babies grow and develop.

Lyn Donnelly says the prison is always looking for donations of wool and anyone with spare yarn can get in touch by emailing lyn.donnelly@nhs.net