2 May 2024

Griffith knitter to host ‘final push’ tea party after raising $21,000 over 30 years to fight blindness

| Oliver Jacques
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Beryl Paul with knitting

Beryl Paul has knitted for thousands of hours for charity. Photo: Oliver Jacques.

Griffith grandma Beryl Paul is hosting a “final push” morning tea on Saturday 4 May to raise funds for a charity that fights blindness and eye disease in developing nations.

The 80-year-old has been knitting garments for the Fred Hollows Foundation for the past three decades, during which time she has raised more than $21,000.

“What do you do when you retire? You can sit and watch television, but I may as well knit something while I’m doing that to help others,” she said.

“But now, common sense tells me, ‘You’re 80, slow down’.

“I’ll still do markets and take orders from home but won’t have a big day like this; I can’t do it anymore.”

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At her final big morning tea on Saturday, she will be selling more than 100 different hand-knitted tea cosies, as well as quilts, crafts and books at the CWA rooms.

“We’ve got really good Mother’s Day gifts; there’ll also be a raffle where you can win a crochet rug, hamper or a Specsavers voucher,” she said.

Ms Paul is a member of the Griffith Natty Knitters, a group of grandmas who have been knitting together to raise money for various charities at Griffith City Library every Saturday since 2007.

Ada Snaidero, Nada Staffania and Evelyn Garzoli knit in the library

Ada Snaidero, Nada Staffania and Evelyn Garzoli of the Natty Knitters. Photo: Oliver Jacques.

She said a chance meeting in a church in the late 1970s with the late Fred Hollows, the acclaimed eye surgeon who launched the charity, was a life-changing moment for her.

“He was such a funny and inspiring man. He told me that doing nothing is not an option,” she said.

“I figured the bit of money I’m going to earn for my knitting is not going to change my life. But if I give it to someone who needs eye surgery, it will certainly change theirs.”

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For the past 30 years, she has spent up to eight hours a day knitting various garments.

She also remains in good health and is soon to celebrate 60 years married to her husband Richard. Region sought her wisdom.

What’s the secret to marriage longevity?

I don’t think there’s any secret, just be kind to each other.

What’s the biggest change that’s occurred in your lifetime?

Bloody computers. I’m not computer literate and I hate the damn things. It’s so different, the things the kids do and the way they do them – I’m pleased I’m past my working life.

How do you and your husband divide the chores?

He does all the outside work and I do the inside. We don’t get any help.

Any diet tips?

We eat healthy home-cooked meals; I don’t get takeaway. I don’t eat ice cream or sugar and don’t drink alcohol, just tea and coffee.

What advice do you have for a young person who wants to live a successful life?

Do what your heart tells you to do. Don’t let anyone pressure you into doing anything else.

Ms Paul’s morning tea will be held on Saturday 4 May at the CWA rooms at 129 Banna Avenue. Cost is $15 per person, which includes cakes, tea and coffee. All are welcome and attendees can arrive anytime between 11 am and 3 pm.

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