Every Monday morning, without fail, Fermoy Leisure Centre rings with the sounds of laughter, chat and clicking crochet needles as a group of dedicated women set about their weekly mission: to crochet blankets for cancer patients. 

The Fermoy Hookers formally came together just over one year ago, however the decision to start making blankets for patients in Cork who had been diagnosed with cancer happened almost two years beforehand. 


When a staff member of the local Leisure Centre started treatment for cancer, her conversations with Anna O’Connor, who heads up the crochet group and also hosts Water Wellness classes in Fermoy Leisure Centre, turned to the experience of having cancer. 

This was when Anna heard about Blankets for Hope – an organisation that provides hand-crafted blankets to cancer patients to help keep them warm.  

“Basically, they were saying that the blankets supplied by hospitals just don’t keep patients warm enough,” Anna said. 

Continuing, she explained that: “You get very cold when you receive chemotherapy treatment, so they depend on other people to make blankets and to donate them to the Cork centre of Blankets of Hope.”

Which is where the Fermoy Hookers come in. 

The Fermoy Hookers crochet group with a selection of blankets that they have made for patients who are undergoing treatment for cancer. An impressive 53 blankets were handed over to Blankets For Hope recently. (Picture: The Fermoy Hookers)


The core of this group stemmed from a Water Wellness class, which takes place three times a week in the Fermoy Leisure Centre, with the first session happening at noon on Mondays. 

Many of the participants were keen to help Blankets of Hope and were particularly handy with a needle and a ball of wool. 

Initially they worked at home and brought the blankets in for collection, however, Anna quickly noticed that it could all be a little more sociable: “Because we go into the pool at 12 o-clock, I said: ‘why don’t we just get together at 11 o’clock as a little group?’” she said.

All of the members take their work home and carry on working for the remainder of the week. Then, on the following Monday, anyone who needs a little help with their blanket is sure to get it.

Each blanket is sewn with a bright red heart, and the message ‘made with love’ is the unifying theme. 


Every three or four months, the blankets are all collected and handed over to ‘Blankets for Hope’, before being distributed to patients who need them. At the last collection, the Fermoy Hookers produced an impressive 53 blankets. 

Anna went on to point out that demand for these blankets has continued to increase, as the Cork-based organisation now provides blankets to hospitals across the country. 


The Fermoy Hookers are always on the lookout for new members, and for donations of wool. 

“You’re given wool, and you’re given the needle, and we do a small €2 collection every week here, and that’s our money for the wool. So it doesn’t cost anybody,” Anna said.

They currently have six baskets of wool, however donations are welcome, and anyone who would like to join the group can simply attend the 11am crochet session in Fermoy Leisure Centre, where they will get a warm welcome.