Finding a hobby is on everyone’s to-do list. Some of us bake, others write; the athletic ones go jogging, roller skating or swimming. As we advance in age, our hobbies change. While at 14 collecting cars might be fun, at 34 we might turn our attention towards something else. However, what hobby does a 109 year old person have? For the oldest Australian the answer is simple: knitting sweaters for penguins.
Phillip Island‘s Penguin Foundation started searching for keen knitters that would have the time and wool to knit sweaters for penguins in light of the oil spill that took place in 2013. The responses to the call came from all over the world; one of them being Alfred ‘Alfie’ Date, Australia’s oldest person and a known, prolific knitter. The nurses from his retirement home asked Alfie to help them knit sweaters for the little penguin colony located in Philip Island. The man readily accepted and put his experience of 80 years to good use.
Alfie learned knitting in 1931 when he made a sweater for his nephew. The man who has seven children and 20 grandchildren, and “about the same amount” of great grandchildren, has done the same for the penguins.
The foundation explained that their call did not come as a fashion statement, but as a way to help the little creatures. Oil spills can cause the feathers to stick together and allow water in the inner layers. This leads to penguins getting cold and not being able to hunt.
When they arrive at the foundation, all penguins affected by oil spills are given a jacket to keep them from consuming the toxins or preening their feathers. With the help of other people such as Alfie, the foundation has managed to collect enough sweaters for penguins and is no longer accepting donations. As such, the man is now knitting scarves for his friends and beanies for premature babies.
What do you think of this remarkable man who knitted sweaters for penguins?
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