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Gillingham residents are being asked to help create the ‘biggest blanket ever made in Dorset’ that will cover the Town Meadow on March 20.

The event, called ‘Hanky Blanky on the Town Meadow’ is part of Red Nose Day, and has been organised by Gillingham Community Kindness, a volunteer group recently set up by Liz Rose, Social Prescriber for Gillingham since September 2020, and who has worked with Gillingham Medical Practice and the wider Blackmore Vale Partnership to set up and co-ordinate practical, emotional and social support for the people of Gillingham, often involving volunteers from the first lockdown.

‘We came up with the idea of the blanket because, as we aren’t able to come together due to Covid, this is a way of the community coming together while still staying apart,’ says Rosie Thompson, a volunteer, and a retired teacher from Gillingham School. ‘ Everything will be done in a safe way, following correct social distancing procedure.’

The blanket will be made up of wool squares that will be placed together on the ground to resemble a blanket. As well, locally-made pom poms will be placed in the shape of a heart on the blanket ‘to symbolise that love and kindness – “Kindnose” – is at the heart of the Gillingham community,’ says Rosie.

Once the event is over, the squares will be made into smaller blankets to be donated to Comic Relief projects. The pom poms will be saved and given to the town council to decorate the town Christmas tree. ‘We are grateful to the mayor and Meadow committee for their support,’ says Rosie.

People who donate knitted squares and pompoms can make a written dedication and the names will be displayed on the Town Meadow noticeboards.

To join in, bring your knitted square or pom pom to the Town Meadow on Saturday, March 20, between 10am-noon, along a written dedication. ‘We can provide wool if required,’ says Rosie. ‘Just send us a message on our Facebook page – Gillingham Community Kindness.’

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