A CARDIGAN woman who celebrates her 80th birthday next year is on a mission to get the people of the town to knit or crochet 2,020 cardigans or jumpers to send to refugee children.

Eileen Johnson has been knitting for more than 75 years and is the inspiration behind a new community project at Stiwdio3.

“I was born in North Kent in the 1940s and spent a lot of my time in air raid shelters. The threat was real as a bomb dropped in our front garden and I was blown out of my cot,” said Eileen, who has lived in Cardigan for more than 50 and who lived above what is now Stiwdio 3 when she first moved to the town.

“At three years old, my mother taught me to knit to help to help the long hours sitting in candlelight and I have never been without knitting since.

“Next year, 2020, will mark 75 years since the end of the Second World War and I would like to ask local knitters or crocheters to help me make 2,020 children’s cardigans or jumpers by this time next year.

“And in keeping with my childhood story, we will send them to child refugees to keep them warm for the winter of 2020.”

Eileen can knit a child’s jumper in about six hours using a couple of balls of wool.

“Whenever I am sitting around I just have to knit,” she said. “It is just a way of life and I don’t even know I am doing it. I am always thinking about what I am going to do next.”

She is keen for people of all ages – both young and old – and all abilities to get involved. A simple pattern is available from Stiwdio 3 and people are more than welcome to pop in for a ‘knit and natter’.

“Can you knit or crochet? Have you any aran yarn or buttons going spare? If you belong to a club, group or school that could help, we would love to hear from you,” added Eileen.

“With our town name of Cardigan, let’s put us on the map for the 2020 challenge and send cardigans from Cardigan to those who need them.”

Debbie Mossman, from Stiwdio 3, said: “We have our knitting and crocheting programme and this ties in so well with that. It is all about involving the community and Eileen’s story fits so well with that.

“I have been involved with a refugee charity in Calais and so when Eileen said what she wanted to do, it was meant to be.”