A PUBLIC-SPIRITED knitter is hoping for some birthday help to keep up her generous habit.

Dorchester resident Jean Wilson celebrates her 70th birthday today and has been knitting for good causes for many years.

Her housing association wants to mark her big day by appealing for donations of spare yarn so Jean can keep up her efforts, which have included knitting clothes for children in Africa and babies at Dorset County Hospital.

Jean, who grew up in London’s east end, was taught to knit by her mum at the age of five and trained as a seamstress specialising in ladies’ suiting and wedding dresses.

After clothing her whole family as they grew up, Jean decided to turn her talents to worthy causes and began knitting clothes for youngsters in Africa as well as the temporary residents of the premature baby unit in Dorset County Hospital.

She has knitted countless blankets, toys, hats, mitts, scarves and clothes over the years.

Jean says she has every intention of continuing her craft so that other people can benefit.

She said: “It’s not only because of my love of knitting and crochet, but also because it keeps my hands mobile and holds back the pain of the dreaded arthritis.”

Magna Housing Association is appealing for donations of any wool or yarn so that Jean can continue her efforts.

Administrator to the head of housing Jane Fisher is co-ordinating the donations.

She said: “What Jean does is amazing.

“She has really made a difference to people’s lives through her hobby.

“When we heard about what she was doing we wanted do what we could to help her.

“She’s a Magna resident and we wanted to spread the word.

“People often have unwanted wool or yarn lying around so I am co-ordinating an appeal to help Jean carry on with her sterling efforts.

“We’re looking for double knit ideally, but anything would be gratefully received.

“People can contact me on 01305 216125 or via email jane.fisher@magna.org.uk