Melanie Cooper's Story

Melanie Cooper is a lay minister from Ashford House Care Centre’s neighbouring Church of England Parish. Having previously worked as a nurse for many years, Melanie visits the care home every Friday to give communion to those residents who wish to take it.

A regular fixture, Melanie is always a welcoming face and even says: “I’m here at the Ashford house so much it’s as if I’ve become one of the staff.”

Now Melanie has gone even further to help improve the lives of the people living at Ashford House – and has used her knitting skills to do it.

Her latest project came about after seeing the activities team ordering twiddle cushions and twiddle muffs from a catalogue, which are knitted items designed to stimulate people living with dementia.

Melanie asked if she could lend a helping hand in making these items herself.

“I was more than happy to help them out; to be honest, I think they were a little bit baffled at first! I just asked for a copy of the catalogue and off I went.”

The following Friday, Melanie returned with an armful of knitted items.

“I made sure I copied the patterns and ideas from the catalogues.”

Melanie had gone away and created handmade twiddle dolls, cushions and muffs for Ashford House, with the help of the local church community.

Each item had been lovingly made with great care – and no two items were the same.

Inside each twiddle muff was a small teddy, doll or button; each doll was created unique and the church community had gone into extraordinary detail on each of them.

To date, the home has 35 twiddle items from Melanie and there is no sign of the generosity ending there as she has now moved on to twiddle aprons and blankets!