109-year-old Alfred Date learned to knit in the 1930s from his sister-in-law. After moving to a retirement home in Australia the nurses noticed Mr Date’s love of knitting.
Now he is helping the folks at Knits For Nature by creating jumpers for sick penguins on Phillip Island near Melbourne.
The penguins are rounded up because of the oil that builds up on their bodies – creating a toxic situation once they are preening, among numerous other issues which often kill them due to exposure and starvation.
Of the last oil spill that hit Phillip Island in 2001, some 438 penguins were adversely affected – in all 96 per cent were saved and rehabilitated at the Wildlife Clinic – eventually being released back into the wild.
Their success rate is due to the knitted jumpers, and today Mr Date is the hero that saved the lives of so many in Phillip Island.
Mr Date said he has been busy knitting “easy single-rib and double-rib” stitch jerseys for the little penguins. “If you’re using a light wool you’re wasting your time,” he told a local station.
On the day the local new interviewed him he said “I think I’d been in here about 12 hours, might have been 13.”
The Penguin Foundation said the knitwear helps to protect the penguins from not only oil spills but also other toxic chemicals and prevents the grease from affecting their ability to hunt or maintain body temperature.
Today, Mr Date has been featured in numerous publications around the globe for his kindness and hard work.