Maud Styles, Dog Rescue Newcastle volunteer
MAUD Styles just loves to knit. She sometimes wishes she had more wool to work with, or more people to knit alongside, but at 98 years of age there's no stopping her.
Ms Styles, this week's Hunter Water Hunter Hero, makes dog jackets and blankets for not-for-profit organisation Dog Rescue Newcastle, which rescues abandoned, neglected or abused animals.
The organisation places dogs and cats from local pounds into loving foster homes until permanent homes can be found.
Ms Styles knits the items "whenever I can" and has a volunteer drop around to her house in Toronto every so often to pick up a pile of the multi-coloured pieces.
"She's been with us for many years," Dog Rescue Newcastle volunteer Terri Stephens said.
"We provide her with wool whenever it's donated to us and she knits it into dog sweaters and little blankets."
Ms Styles said she did not receive much feedback about her blankets or sweaters after they were picked up by the organisation, but it appears her efforts are appreciated by more than she thinks.
Dog Rescue Newcastle posted a photo and short story about Ms Styles' voluntary work on its Facebook page last Monday, with the post amassing close to 10,000 likes and 1100 comments. It was also shared 2200 times by other Facebook users.
"It's got over 200,000 interactions," Ms Stephens said.
"A lot of people have now contacted us wanting to donate wool to keep her busy, and a few other people have said they're going to start knitting for us as well.
"Everyone has been giving lots of love and joy. She's such a lovely woman.
"At her age, to be still giving back to the community, it's beautiful."
Ms Styles said she had been knitting the sweaters for the rescue organisation for about a decade, but it had been a hobby for much longer.
"I love knitting," she said. "And when it's for a good reason, that's it you know.
"At the moment, I'm right down on the last of my wool, so I'm scratching".
Ms Styles donated 24 jumpers last Monday and has contributed about 60 items over the last few collections.
She said she "loves a good donation" of wool to keep working with.
Playing down her own contribution, Ms Styles said the rescue organisation's volunteers are "wonderful, really wonderful".
Ms Styles said she once had a "beautiful dog" but he died a few years ago.
"He was one of the family," she said. "I just couldn't have a dog after him. I couldn't part with another one."
She still gets a visit from some "little ones" when the volunteers drop by, but only "if they're friendly".
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