The people of Greater Manchester have been heaping praise on a local mum after her “random acts of crochet kindness” help to brighten their day.
Sarah Sharples – a 38-year-old mum of two – has been perfecting her crochet skills for the past six years, after teaching herself the tricky craft by simply watching tutorials on YouTube.
And earlier this week, the Salford-native decided to set aside some spare time from her full-time job at NatWest and her recently-acquired side gig as her sons’ homeschool teacher to put her keen crochet hobby to good use and help lift the spirits of her hometown’s residents by hand-crafting over 200 crochet creations and leaving them at several popular places around the city for passers-by to discover.
From MediaCity, all the way to Lightoaks Park, members of the public have been thrilled to find Sarah’s work.
It’s all part of her contribution to the UK-wide Random Acts of Crochet Kindness project and with it, she wants to convey the message of “sending love in tough times”.
“I’ve been crocheting for about six years now,” Sarah told us.
“I first bought some wool to donate to a group who crochet items for stillborn babies in hospital and thought I’d love to have a go and at least make one blanket myself maybe [so] I’m totally self-taught from YouTube videos”.
She continued: “I decided that leaving an items at MediaCity and Lightoaks Park would just be a lovely act for kids to find while they are out and about in a time where they have struggled [with] home schooling and not seeing friends and family.
“I have made over 200 items now [including] ducks, whales, ladybirds, flowers, birds and elephants [and] my kids love to come with me and hide them either at night or early morning to be found later on”.
This isn’t the first time Sarah has using her crochet creations for the greater good though.
Even before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic first flipped life as we once knew it on its head and temporarily locked down the world last March, Sarah would often make items to donate to various hospitals, neonatal units and maternity wards in the area, as well as creating little catnip mice for the cats at the RSPCA in Salford.
Then, when the pandemic hit, she made hundreds of ear savers – “to take pressure off ears” – for Salford Royal Hospital, local nursing homes, doctors, hairdressers and other local businesses in need.
“I also made 100 crochet hearts durning the first lockdown,” Sarah added.
“I donated [them] to the Salford Palliative Care team who planned to use them in nursing homes to give to family members who couldn’t visit and then one to the nursing home resident.”
“I also made a crochet heart for every house on my street [which is around 100], with a message of sending love in tough times… and when I saw people had put them up in their windows and that they loved them, I made every house a crochet robin for Christmas too”.
Although the act of crocheting is known to be pretty skilled and often time-consuming work, it’s something Sarah finds great enjoyment in.
Even more so when all the effort goes towards putting a smile on the faces of Salford’s citizens, and after one of her ladybird creations was spotted in MediaCity and a photo of the find was shared to The Manc’s over 700,000-strong community of loyal Mancunians on Facebook, the praise came pouring in.
The photo amassed over 8K interactions, 475 shares and counting, and hundreds of positive comments from members of the public who were touched by Sarah’s kindness and generosity towards the fellow residents of her local community.
Sarah admitted that reading all of comments “made every second of making them so worth it”, and now, she has some big plans for the future.
“I still want to carry on leaving items at MediaCity and Lightoaks Park for as long as I can,” she revealed.
“[But] I am also supporting #AHEART4MCR this year, where I am hoping to have 200 crochet hearts to leave around my local area as a random act of kindness to remember the [victims of the 2017 Manchester Arena Bombing]”.
Keep an eye out, Manchester.