Josie Gibson calls on readers to knit for premature babies as she backs The Sun’s Knit A Lot, Help A Tot appeal

5 days ago 6

AS her tiny son lay desperately ill, Josie Gibson sat crying on a labour ward, surrounded by mums and their newborns.

The This Morning presenter was terrified for little Reggie, who was born a month early weighing just 4lb due to pregnancy complications.

Josie Gibson's son Reggie was born a month early weighing just 4lb

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Josie Gibson's son Reggie was born a month early weighing just 4lbCredit: JOSIE GIBSON INSTAGRAM

In an exclusive interview, Josie, 35, who is backing The Sun on Sunday’s Knit A Lot, Help A Tot appeal, said: “It was hard seeing other new mums cuddling their babies.

"I was happy for them, but knowing Reggie couldn’t be with me was really difficult.

“I’m not normally one for crying but I cried buckets.”

We are asking readers to knit a blanket which we will distribute to some of the 8,000 premature babies in hospital this Christmas.

This Morning presenter Josie is backing The Sun on Sunday’s Knit A Lot, Help A Tot appeal

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This Morning presenter Josie is backing The Sun on Sunday’s Knit A Lot, Help A Tot appealCredit: JOSIE GIBSON INSTAGRAM

How to make your blanket

Pattern for 24in x 30in baby blanket

YOU NEED: 250grams double knit yarn and 4mm needles (size 8). Cast on 128 stitches and knit 17 rows.

At the beginning and end of next and each following pattern rows you will knit 9 stitches for border to prevent curling up.

1st row: knit 9 (knit 10, purl 10) repeat to last 9 sts, knit.

2nd row: knit 9 (purl 10, knit 10) repeat to last 19 sts, purl 10, knit 9.
Repeat these rows 6 times.

15th row as 2nd row.

16th row as 1st row.

Repeat 15th and 16th rows 6 times to form the pattern (28 rows).

Repeat the above 28 rows of the pattern a further 6 times, the blanket should now measure approximately 28in.

Knit 17 rows then cast off.

And we have teamed up with East London Textiles Ltd and The Big Yellow Self Storage Company to help store your blankets.

While Reggie was cared for at Bath’s Royal United Hospital for three weeks in September 2018, Josie was grateful for donated baby blankets to keep him cosy.

She is now fully behind our campaign, launched last Sunday in collaboration with premature baby charity Bliss.

She said: “Blankets are so important to premature babies. Often their clothes don’t fit but the blankets are like a proper cuddle and keep them cosy but let them wriggle around.

Josie was grateful for donated baby blankets to keep Reggie cosy while he was cared for at Bath’s Royal United Hospital

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Josie was grateful for donated baby blankets to keep Reggie cosy while he was cared for at Bath’s Royal United HospitalCredit: Josie Gibson

“They hold scent too, which is important when it comes to bonding, especially if you can’t hold your baby as much as you’d like or if they’re in an incubator.

“That feeling of holding your baby when they are all wrapped up and warm in a blanket is like nothing else.

“Reggie always rested better when he had a blanket to keep him warm and he loves a good snuggle with one now.”

Sadly, Josie split from Reggie’s dad four months after he was born, but they continue to raise the two-year-old together.

Josie urges readers to 'get your needles out and make a blanket for a baby this Christmas'

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Josie urges readers to 'get your needles out and make a blanket for a baby this Christmas'Credit: Rex Features

She said: “Reggie has bags of energy now and runs around all over the place. But he’ll do anything for a cuddle, and I’m sure it’s because he didn’t get them when he was born.”

Reggie is now taller than his nursery school pals and has caught up in every way.

Josie added: “We are fortunate Reggie has thrived. So if you’ve ever knitted, please get your needles out and make a blanket for a baby this Christmas.

“Reggie and I know it will make a family somewhere feel very special.”

Where to send your finished blankets

PLEASE post blankets to: The Sun on Sunday’s Christmas Blankets for Babies Appeal, East London Textiles Ltd (E.L.T.), Unit G4, Gallmans End Farm, Manor Road, Abridge, Essex RM4 1NA.

Bliss is unable to accept blankets sent directly to its office.

All blankets will be quality controlled. We will only be sending out blankets to units in line with their infection control policies and at such time as access to units is possible.

You can also make a donation at bliss.org.uk/donate.

 Tell us how you are helping the campaign with this hashtag: #SoSBlankets4Babies

Celebrities support Sun campaign

KYM Marsh had to spend time on a neonatal ward in 2011 after giving birth to daughter Polly seven weeks early.

It was a terrifying time for the former Coronation Street actress, as she and former husband Jamie Lomas had lost their son Archie two years earlier after he was born at just 21 weeks.

Kym Marsh has backed The Sun's appeal after she gave birth to daughter Polly seven weeks early in 2011

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Kym Marsh has backed The Sun's appeal after she gave birth to daughter Polly seven weeks early in 2011Credit: Rex Features

Phillip Schofield said the blankets are 'vital' for keeping little ones warm

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Phillip Schofield said the blankets are 'vital' for keeping little ones warmCredit: Rex Features

Kym, 44, who calls nine-year-old Polly her “little miracle”, last night backed The Sun on Sunday’s ­Blankets For Babies appeal.

The host of BBC’s Morning Live said: “It is a wonderful idea to give babies in hospital this Christmas comfort and help keep them warm when they leave the unit.

“To have a keepsake like this, to keep for ever, to show how hard they have fought after such a tough start, is amazing. I hope everyone gets their knitting needles out.”

Her ITV morning TV counterpart Phillip Schofield, 58, said: “These blankets are vital – just like this fantastic campaign – in helping to keep these little ones warm.

Claudia Winkleman called The Sun on Sunday's campaign 'brilliant'

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Claudia Winkleman called The Sun on Sunday's campaign 'brilliant'Credit: Getty Images - Getty

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"I’m sure readers will get behind this and help these mums and babies who are in desperate need this Christmas”.

Strictly host and mum of three Claudia Winkleman, 48, said: “During lockdown it’s harder than ever for mums going into labour because their family can’t be with them on the wards.

"Blankets are such a comfort to little babies, who need to keep warm. It’s brilliant what The Sun on Sunday is doing to help.”

Big Brother star Josie Gibson has fun at home with son Reggie in huge double bed and modern kitchen

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