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Hats off to UK knitters who have helped save hundreds of thousands of children's lives

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As Save the Children's six-month long 'Knit One, Save One' campaign draws to a close this week the charity reports that a grand total of 650,000 baby hats were knitted by a staggering 50,000 individual knitters.

Earlier this year Save the Children asked the UK public to get involved in saving some of the world's most vulnerable babies by knitting baby hats. A woolly hat can mean the difference between life and death for a newborn baby as they are unable to regulate their body temperature. It takes just 2 minutes for a wet, newborn baby to lose a dangerous 2°C in body temperature, making them prone to catching one of the big killer diseases, Pneumonia.

The life-saving hats have since been delivered to countries where high numbers of children are dying, such as Tibet, South Africa, Kenya, Myanmar, Zimbabwe and Afghanistan.

At the time of the Knit One, Save One launch, TV personality Paul O Grady visited Save the Children's work in South Africa and was deeply moved by the children he met there. In particular, Paul wanted to help newborn babies survive so he urged viewers of The Paul O Grady Show to grab their needles and get knitting - and they responded in their thousands!

Paul O Grady recently returned to South Africa to personally deliver some of the hats knitted by his viewers. "It was wonderful seeing all these knitted hats on babies' heads, keeping them warm and safe. Viewers of the show have been fantastic - thank you to everyone to took part in the knitting campaign. Anyone who still wants to help these children can buy gifts for them on Save the Children's Wish List of virtual gifts for just a small amount of money you can help children get a good meal and go to school, so you can make a difference for very little". A film of his trip will be shown on The Paul O Grady Show this Thursday 13th November.

Thousands of knitters also wrote personal messages to Gordon Brown asking him to prioritise saving children's lives. To mark the end of the campaign today - Thursday 13th November more than 40,000 messages were handed over to Number 10 Downing Street.

Adrian Lovett, Director of Campaigns and Communications at Save the Children said: "The response to this campaign has been fantastic. People across the country have shown they want to help save children's lives - and they want the Prime Minister to do his part too.  Now we're calling on Gordon Brown to redouble his efforts to help end this needless loss of life."

The knitting campaign has now ended in the UK but Save the Children in the US are now asking knitters to take up their needles and urge President-elect Obama to make saving children's lives a priority.

The knitting campaign is part of Save the Children's biggest ever global campaign to stop the 10 million children who die before their fifth birthday each year. To find out more ways to get involved visit www.savethechildren.org.uk.

NOTES TO EDITORS:

For more information about Save the Children's Wish List please visit www.savethechildren.org.uk/wishlist

For images of Paul O Grady on his recent trip to South Africa, images of the hats or more information about any aspect of the knitting campaign please contact Susannah Parker in the Save the Children Press Office on 0207 012 6848 or email s.parker@savethechildren.org.uk

We're the world's independent children's charity. We're outraged that millions of children are still denied proper healthcare, food, education and protection. We're working flat out to get every child their rights and we're determined to make further, faster changes. How many? How fast? It's up to you. For further information about our work please visit www.savethechildren.org.uk