Fit for a new prince

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Rural Women New Zealand's Waihtawheta branch president Frances Bicknell with the two wool singlets to be given to Prince William and Kate on their visit to New Zealand
Rural Women New Zealand's Waihtawheta branch president Frances Bicknell with the two wool singlets to be given to Prince William and Kate on their visit to New Zealand

If baby Prince George looks all warm and snuggly on his visit to New Zealand, then a group of knitters from Waihi can take the credit.

The newest member of the Royal family will accompany mum and dad, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their April visit and if there's a chill in the air, he will have some genuine New Zealand merino wool clobber to put on.

Earlier this week two merino wool singlets, knitted by members of Rural Women New Zealand's Waitawheta branch, were sent to Wellington to be presented to the family.

But it was something of a stroke of luck that saw the honour go to the local group.

Branch president Frances Bicknell says the group had been part of an initiative to knit singlets for babies last year.

The branch had to apply for money to the national office if they wished to be part of the knitting project, saying how much wool they wanted. The money was sent to the branch and the wool bought locally at The Habby Shop.

"The project was to encourage the use of wool for babies - to keep them warm using 100 per cent natural wool," says Frances.

In all the group of four knitted 11 singlets, and last week group member Judy Rogers emailed a photograph of the singlets to the central office in Wellington.

"We thought they would like to see what had come from the initiative," says Frances.

"Almost straight away we got a call asking if there were any that hadn't been given away because they had had a request for two wool singlets to be given to the royal visitors when they come.

"We had held off giving the singlets to the hospital on the basis that they would be of more use in the colder months."

Frances says while there was an element of luck, the group is highly delighted to have been given the honour of knitting for the young prince.

The reminder of the singlets will be used in baby packs and given to waihi Hospital for be passed on to those who need them, of donated to the St Vincent de Paul Society.

The other two members of the group are Joyce Fawcett and Anne Wilson.

Frances is unsure exactly when the singlets will be presented to the visitors.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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