Chick knit achieves new heights

Generous knitters responded to the Francis House annual Easter ‘chick knit’ appeal by handcrafting over forty thousand chicks.

The fluffy donations from hundreds of local supporters as well as nationwide knitters, were sent in by the sack load in the run up to Easter.

After passing through quality control to fix any loose beaks and to ensure that they could hold an egg, the chicks were then filled with a small chocolate egg by the hospice fundraising team and a band of dedicated volunteers.

Special thanks to Sharon Wilkinson from Gatley, who single-handedly filled and sewed thousands of the woolly creations by volunteering at the hospice for weeks.

Numerous businesses and over 60 schools and nurseries across the north west supported the 2017 campaign selling the chicks for £1. The money raised will help towards running costs, currently at over £11,500 a day to provide services to care for children, teenagers and young adults with life-limiting conditions and support for their families.

More than £50,000 was raised smashing last year’s appeal which generated almost £27,500 in income from over 19,500 knitted chicks.

Fundraising officer at Francis House Rachel Astill said: “Every year the response is fantastic, and this year it has been overwhelming. I even started dreaming of the chicks. It’s been great fun seeing the incredible variety in the chicks people knit. Each seems to have its own personality. The biggest challenge has been keeping the balance between the chicken and the egg – we didn’t want any empty nests come Easter.”

Seventeen years ago, eight hospice volunteers started the annual chick knit. Then in 2012, their ranks swelled after an appeal was launched by the charity in national knitting magazines and crafting websites.

“We are so grateful to everyone who takes part either by knitting, collecting eggs or buying chicks. Next year we hope to get even more of the community involved, and it would be great to find more volunteers to help with stuffing, sewing and deliveries of chicks,” said Rachel.  If you would like be involved next year please contact

Francis House Chick Knit Fact File:

  • Total number of knitters 761.
  • Total number of chicks 41,302. If stood beak to tail, they would stretch to just over 2,950 metres. The difference in the distance between the highest point of Mount Kilimanjaro at 5,895m and Mount Everest at 8,848m!
  • The largest amount of chicks by a single knitter – Janet Radford from Guildford, Surrey with 725.
  • Maria Dunbobbin from Cheadle Hulme knitted 400 unique chicks with hats and accessories – with no two chicks the same.
  • In total individuals, local businesses, schools, supermarkets and Cash and Carry’s donated over 36,500 crème eggs.
  • Staff at Sky in Stockport collected the biggest donation of eggs with 2,052.
  • Springfield Primary School in Sale sold the most chicks with 900.
  • The furthest flung chicks were 10 from Tauranga in New Zealand, plus 30 from a knitter in Texas, 10 from Florida and chicks also arrived from Cyprus, France and Spain.

A video of the results of the Chick Knit can be viewed here


More posts