Duo’s patchwork quilts will help protect premature babies

Premature babies and their parents at Bradford Royal Infirmary are taking advantage of some fabulous patchwork quilts which have been generously made with love in every stitch.

Medical secretary, Kathryn Wilkinson, and her friend, Brenda Stimpson started making the blankets to keep the babies warm after seeing the idea on social media nine months ago.

Kathryn, from Thackley, who has worked at Bradford Royal Infirmary for 43 years, is a keen knitter and quilter in her spare time.

She said: “Brenda and I belong to a quilt group which meets once a month and has about eight other members who are all good friends.

“We thought the blankets for the babies were a really lovely idea as they can help alleviate the stress of being in the neonatal unit and bring a bit of pleasure at the same time.

“They take quite a while to put together as a lot of detail goes into making each one and I fit them around visiting my four grandchildren in my spare time who live in Sheffield and London.”

Different designs

Between them, the pair have made eight quilts in a range of different designs and colours for both boys and girls.

Each blanket involves patiently piecing intricate squares together to make the patchwork top which is then taken to a friend, Christine Marriage, who uses her special quilting machine to insert the stuffing and joins the blanket to the plain backing. Kathryn and Brenda then finish off the quilts by binding their edges.

Kathryn added: “I’ve used children’s fabric to make them look nice and interesting for the babies and their parents. I am a perfectionist – to put it mildly – so I like to take my time and not rush. I have a particularly favourite one that is brightly multi-coloured with lots of patterns.”

Each quilt measures around 33 x 46 inches and is placed on top of the incubators to protect the babies underdeveloped eyes and ears from the unit’s lights and sound. They can also be used for when mums and dad have skin-to-skin contact.

Neonatal Unit Matron Kelly Young said the team were delighted to receive the quilts.

Fantastic addition

She added: “Huge thanks to Kathryn and Brenda for the blankets as they are a fantastic addition and absolutely stunning too. In fact, it’s difficult to choose a favourite one as they are all so lovely.

“Our existing incubator quilts have been purchased through Bradford Hospitals Children’s Charity but it’s also nice to receive donations like this.

“We will use these blankets time and time again and after every use. They will be washed at 60 degrees for infection control reasons, so they don’t last forever, so gifts like these are always welcome and much appreciated by our babies, parents and staff alike.”

The duo intend to donate more quilts to the NNU in the future so that more babies can benefit from them.

Other members of their quilting group are also going to try their hand at making the special blankets