Crafters in Lancaster and Morecambe urged to help animals caught up in Australian bushfires

Rural Fire Service firefighters conduct property protection near the town of Sussex Inlet in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Sam Mooy/Getty Images)
Rural Fire Service firefighters conduct property protection near the town of Sussex Inlet in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Sam Mooy/Getty Images)

Crafters across the Lancaster and Morecambe area are being urged to help knit and crochet items to help animals caught up in the devastating bushfires sweeping across Australia.

Keen crafter Tracey Myers is among more than 19,000 people to have taken up the challenge since a group was set up on Facebook at the weekend, and has now been named as a regional hub manager for the north west due to growing support.

Tracey, who runs TLC Windows in Heysham, said: “We are looking for anyone who can knit or crochet to make things for animals like joeys, possums, wallabies and bats.

“So many people got involved that they sasked people to be hub managers and I am doing it for the north west.

“We have got various collection points but we still need more people to help make things; it’s just a little thing that people can do to help.”

By joining the group on Facebook – UK Crafters for Australia Animal Rescue Effort or UK Crafters Northwest Hub for Australia Animal Rescue Effort – you can gain access to lists of knitting patterns and information about the materials needed.

Items being made include pouches for joeys and baby wallabies and possum nests.

Drop-off points are in Lancaster, Morecambe, Bolton-le-Sands, Hest Bank and White Lund as well as in Barrow and Blackpool.

British Airways has offered to take many of the items as cargo, but the group is also looking for anyone who might be travelling to Australia to take some with them.

The Australian bushfires have had a devastating impact on wildlife and their habitats.

As a result, thousands of animals including koalas, kangaroos and bats have been displaced, injured and left without their family members.

Record-breaking temperatures and months of severe drought have fuelled the series of bushfires.

Rain has brought some respite to the thousands of firefighters and volunteers tackling the blazes, which have been burning since September.

However, the fires intensified over the past week, with a number of towns evacuated.

At least 24 people have so far been killed – including three volunteer firefighters – and more than 6.3 million hectares (63,000 sq km) of bush, forest and parks have been burned.

In the worst-hit state, New South Wales, fire has affected almost five million hectares, destroying more than 1,300 houses and forcing thousands to seek shelter elsewhere.