Toni’s big hearted charity bid.

A BECCLES woman with a big heart has put her craft-making skills to good use by creating decorative fairies and selling them to raise funds for a famous children’s hospital.

Toni Rhodes, 63, has been busy making the pretty festive figures which are being sold for �3, with all proceeds going to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London. So far she has raised more than �1,000.

Mrs Rhodes, who sufferers from the inflammatory condition polymyalgia rheumatica and diabetes, said the children’s hospital is close to her heart as her nine-year-old granddaughter Mia has diabetes.

The grandmother-of-four said: “Great Ormond Street are so wonderful and, while Mia hasn’t been treated there, nobody knows when they might need them whether you have children or not. I do it because I want to help people. I would do something for anybody.”

Mrs Rhodes began making fairies last year after the Worlingham branch of the Women’s Institute asked members to make fairies for the annual Christmas tree festival at Hungate Church, in Beccles.

She ended up making 30 more on the condition that she could have them back so she could sell them in aid of children with diabetes. They were so well received she decided to sell more this Christmas.

Her friends Sue and Stephen Taylor, at Beccles Sewing and Handicrafts, where Mrs Rhodes helps out, offered to sell the fairies in their shop.

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The fairies are made from dolly pegs, ribbon, circles of net and pipe cleaners. They can be used in various ways and Mrs Rhodes said a lot of people are putting them on children’s bed socks.

Mrs Rhodes thanked her friends, including Ann Tricker, who knitted 23 teddies, raising �60, after she ran out of fairies last week.

She also thanked Fred Sharpe who sold �70-worth of fairies and gave her the initiative to make more.

Mrs Rhodes’ husband Michael, 66, is also raising funds in aid of children with diabetes and has created a bow maker, which makes perfectly-shaped bows of varying sizes.

Mrs Rhodes said: “I would like to thank everybody and all the Beccles shoppers who have come in to buy the fairies. I am very grateful.”

The fairies can be bought from Beccles Sewing and Handicrafts in Blyburgate.

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