A CALL has gone out to all the knitters in south Essex to help people breath better by making scarves.

Hospital trusts in Southend and Castle Point are joining forces to support “Scarfie”.

It is a campaign, launched by Asthma UK, to provide hand-knitted scarves to patients attending special winter-ready clinics and encourage those with breathing problems to wear a scarf to ease their breathing and stay well during the cold season.

A call has gone out for 150 scarves.

Recent figures revealed there were 4,000 hospital admissions related to respiratory conditions between October and March and almost 5,000 trips to A&E.

About 30,000 people in Southend and Castle Point have breathing difficulties.

According to health professionals, wearing a scarf loosely around your nose and mouth can warm up the air before breathing it in which can make breathing easier.

Helen Smith, respiratory clinical nurse at Southend University, said: “Breathing in cold air irritates the airways and increases the risk of an exacerbation of symptoms.

“Simply wrapping a scarf loosely over the nose and mouth can help protect people from respiratory infections and exacerbations. It does so by warming up the air before breathing it in.

“We’d be incredibly grateful for any scarf donations – the knit and natter group at Knitting Emporium in Hadleigh have already offered their time and wool to knit 15 scarves for us.”

Nin Robertson, the owner of The Knitting Emporium in Hadleigh said: “I think the ladies of the Knit and Natter group are doing a fab job, they are helping a worthwhile charity.

“They are super women.

“I have donated the wool for the first 15 scarves and the ladies are knitting it.

Hazel Bennett, 69, of Rayleigh, who goes to the knitting group every week, said: “The Knitting Emporium is a very friendly and supportive group.

“It’s wonderful that Nin has donated the wool for this charity and the knitters have given their time to a very needy cause.

“I have been knitting for 60 years and coming to the group for two years, but Nin will always support anybody that wishes to learn and help anyone who is struggling.

“The group is there to support one another.

“I look forward to going each week.

“We talk about everything from Brexit to what’s happening in the local area.

“The shop really has so much to offer any knitter, and there is a wide selection of wools, colours and thicknesses to choose from.”

A spokesman for the campaign added: “Health professionals are encouraging people with respiratory illnesses to wear a scarf this winter. To support this aim, a team of specialists are campaigning for help to provide hand-knitted scarves to local people.”