England

Charity making 'knitted knockers" as alternative to NHS prosthesis

Knitted artificial breasts Image copyright Knitted Knockers
Image caption Knitted knockers come in a variety of sizes and colours

A charity is making "knitted knockers" for breast cancer survivors as an alternative to NHS prosthesis.

Knitted Knockers UK is a group of volunteers which makes cotton artificial breasts for women who have had mastectomies or lumpectomies.

The group, made up of about 500 knitters and support staff, provides prostheses free of charge.

Volunteer Tina O'Dwyer said she was inspired to get involved after her mother had breast cancer.

The charity - which dealt with more than 2,700 requests for its products in 2016 - is hosting a series of fundraising events and open days throughout the year.

It said it relies heavily on fundraising as it costs about £10 to produce each item.

'Heavy and irritating'

Knitted Knockers UK was founded in January 2014 by Joanna Dervisoglu, from Birmingham, who knitted for the parent group in the US.

It came about after she received a request from a women who had a double mastectomy.

Mrs Dwyer, from Baildon, near Shipley, started volunteering with the charity in April and described being a "Knockerette" as "inspirational and rewarding".

She said: "It's a lovely group to belong to, and the ladies are all really supportive."

Talking about the work of the charity, she said some woman found it difficult to wear the gel prostheses available on the NHS.

"Some find them too heavy and irritating," she said.

"The knitted knockers are lightweight, much more comfortable and they don't move around."

The charity, which has members all over the UK and Ireland, also makes "Aqua Knockers" for women to wear while swimming.

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