88-year-old Saanich woman knits more than 200 toques for charity

“I call myself the Chicken Lady!” Daphne beams before breaking into infectious laughter.

Despite there being a painting of chickens hanging beside her front door (“Every time I look at it I feel happy!”), despite one of the roosters being named after her late husband Mike (“I just love chickens!”), this is not a story about chickens.

This is a story that begins during the Second World War, in northern England, when young Daphne was waiting in her family’s underground air-raid shelter.

“I can remember the big bomber planes going over,” Daphne recalls. “Because there was the boom, boom, boom.”

Which led to the loudest boom of all.

“Our house was bombed,” Daphne says. “But I had a very happy family [even though] we didn’t have a lot.”

But what Daphne did have was the ability to knit and an unwavering propensity for positivity.

“I was a bit of a goody-goody at school,” Daphne admits with a laugh.

Now — according to her nephew Tony — she’s always busy-busy with her knitting.

“I asked, ‘Who are these for Daph?’” Tony recalls. “And she said, ‘Oh, I’m knitting a few toques for some people who might need them.”

It turns out Daphne was knitting for the clients at Our Place Society, creating a new hat every day.

“The speed in which she makes them is beyond me,” Tony laughs with amazement, before revealing that Daphne has donated more than 200 toques to some of the capital’s most vulnerable people. “It’s staggering!”

“I hope [my knitting] gives somebody a bit of warmth and pleasure,” Daphne smiles.

After surviving a war, caring for chickens, and living 88 years, Daphne says the best way to knit a happy life for yourself is to simply spread kindness to others.

It’s a simple as that? I ask.

“Yes!” Daphne bursts out laughing. “[But] I’m a simple person!”

Simply wonderful, it seems.

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