‘Granny Meg’ makes toy dolls for Ukraine refugee children

Written by Sophie Watson

A Sheffield born 87-year-old is making handmade toy dolls to be sent to Ukraine refugee children.

Margery (Meg) Holden, born in Mosborough and known as ‘Granny Meg’ by family and friends, has made 10 dolls so far, which were sent to the Ukraine borders last week via a donation service running at her daughter’s local gym.

She is continuing to make dolls for the refugee children and hopes her work inspires others to support the Ukraine crisis.

Anita Morris, Granny Meg’s daughter, said: “Mum is able to feel that she is contributing and she hopes that the children who receive the toys are given a little hope that someone else cares about them.

“The children in Ukraine at this stage, just need something to hold onto and to love. My mum and dad survived a war [WWII] and we all hope the Ukrainian people soon live in a peaceful world again.”

Granny Meg suffers from severe osteoporosis, a health condition that thins her bones and leaves her in constant pain and unable to walk very far.

Granny Meg’s handmade dolls sent to Ukraine

To help control her pain, she started to make owls and dolls for her daughters’ not for profit organisation Hack Back CIC, that offers assisted animal therapy to children and young people with learning difficulties, mental health problems and cancer.

The “lucky” owls have been sent all across the world.

When Granny Meg heard about the Ukraine crisis, she wanted to help and decided to start creating dolls to bring “much needed joy” to the Ukraine refugee children.

Granny Meg’s handmade dolls sent to Ukraine

The dolls take Granny Meg two-to-three days to make, hand embroidering the faces onto the dolls and creating individual dresses and underwear for each of them.

She decided not to name the dolls as she feels it is important for the children in Ukraine to make their own stories up.

Granny Meg has always been creative, painting in her spare time and making dolls for Anita when she was a child.

Granny Meg’s ‘luck’ owls made for Hack Back CIC

During the pandemic, she used craft activities to cope with loneliness and the feelings of isolation after her husband, Ernest, 92, became ill and moved into a care home.

Living now in Ripon nearer to Ernest’s care home, she now lives further away from her daughter Anita.

Anita said: “Evenings are really difficult for her as they can be quite lonely. By making the dolls, it helps her give her something to focus on, makes her feel positive and is amazing for her mental health.

“I’m a great supporter of intergenerational projects. I think with mum supporting the Ukraine children, it shows that there can be a bond between much older people and younger children, which is very important.”

Written by Sophie Watson

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