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The Big Knit

226. Sara Sullivan

A woman from Chandler’s Ford who has led a Hampshire knitting revolution to produce over 35,000 hats for charity.

An enthusiastic crafter as a child, Sara Sullivan was given her trusted set of knitting needles on her eighteenth birthday and has been an avid knitter ever since. She leads a team of 70 colleagues at Ageas, where she is an in-house lawyer, to knit thousands of tiny hats every year for Age UK and innocent’s Big Knit. .

The hats adorn innocent smoothie bottles and for each be-hatted bottle sold, innocent donates 25p to Age UK. – which is also Ageas’s insurance partner. The efforts of the group Sara leads, together with donations from Ageas to recognise their employees’ efforts, has resulted in over £10,000 raised for Age UK, which will support local and national winter projects to help older people keep warm in winter.

Age UK and innocent first launched The Big Knit in 2003. The hats are knitted exclusively by volunteers who give up their time and wool to make them. Sara specialises in knitting creative hats for the bottles including minions, courgette flowers and even a VW camper van!

This year, Sara is also one of a number of inspirational knitters who feature on the backs of the be-hatted bottles.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“Sara’s quirky contribution to raising significant funds for Age UK shows that there is no end to the ways people are using their hobbies and skills to make a difference. Sara has inspired a large team of colleagues to join her ‘big knit’ producing tens of thousands of charity hats. I’m pleased to name her a Point of Light.”

Sara Sullivan said:

“I am really honoured to receive this award on behalf of all those who made The Big Knit such a success, especially my colleagues at Ageas. I am thrilled that knitting, which I enjoy so much, has been able to do so much good and has been recognised in this way.”

Steve Brine MP said:

“This is the second Points of Light award winner in my constituency and I’m thrilled because I am huge supporter of what is a wholly positive enterprise. I am not all surprised Ageas are at the centre of this, they are a valued employer in the area but it’s all credit to Sarawho sounds like quite a lady.”

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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