If you think you’re pretty good at life, you might need to check yourself after hearing how Australia’s oldest man spends his time. 109-year-old Alfred “Alfie” Date has been knitting up a storm creating teeny-tiny sweaters for injured penguins, and it’s so sweet we just might cry.
In the event of an oil spill in March last year, Phillip Island’s Penguin Foundation called upon keen knitters to make tiny woollen jumpers to help penguins on a path to rehabilitation. Responses came from all over the world, but the most heartfelt donation was a little closer to home.
Ninemsn reports that self-proclaimed knitting aficionado and Australia’s oldest living man, Alfie, from NSW’s Central Coast, was approached by a pair of nurses at his aged-care home only 12 to 13 hours after arriving. “The two girls come in to me and say ‘We believe you can knit,'” Aflie told Ninemsn. They left him some heavy wool and he got cracking, stitching away for the large colony of penguins living on Victoria’s Phillip Island.
The sweaters Alfie creates, which are similar AFL guernsies, help prevent the penguins from becoming distressed, cold and less-effective hunters in the event of an oil spill. Oil can damage penguins’ outer feathers and also seep through to the finer layer of down.
Aflie’s knack for knitting dates back to when his sister-in-law demanded he knit a jumper for his nephew, born around 1931. “She said knit me a jumper,” Alfie recalled. “And that was my first effort — a jumper for the boy.” Over 80 years later and Alfie is still knitting like a boss, making scarves for friends, beanies for premature babies, and of course, sweaters for the penguins.
What an absolute trooper!