A remarkable group of 500- plus knitters founded in Haslemere 35 years ago made Christmas Day a little brighter for hundreds of worried new parents with a baby in hospital.

Thanks to dedication of its team of volunteer knitters, in December the Haslemere BLISS Knitters were able to donate stockings and knits to every single neonatal baby unit in southern county. So on Christmas morning more than 1,000 families found a surprise stocking and pretty toy on their baby`s incubator or cot.

Haslemere BLISS was founded in the late 1980s by local woman Dianne Bennett after the arrival of her daughter 13 week early and weighing just 2lb 5oz, to support the national charity for premature and poorly newborns. Responding to a requests by the Royal Surrey County Hospital for little hats, within a week of a letter appearing in Herald, 20 volunteers knitters had signed up. 30 years later, the group now has almost 530 knitters spread across three counties making little blankets, cardigans, hats and boots every year.

Dianne, who went to serve on teh Bliss board for 25 years and was presented with Lifetime Support Award in 2016 said: We very much welcome new volunteers who can get in touch by emailing db.haslemere@btinternet.com or phoning me on 01428 642320`.