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Even volunteers have their Knockers – Joanna Dervisoglu and Lynne Hawksworth

The latest in our series of blogs marking Volunteers Week is a truly inspirational – dare we say ‘uplifting’ – story of people making a real difference:

Why Knockers? A simple question, but why not?

Most people have some spare time at some point during their working week – even if it’s only ten minutes, it’s still spare time.

Back in 2013 I (Joanna) was wasting some of my spare time browsing on Facebook. I enjoy knitting and joined a couple of knitting groups.

One day I noticed a link to a group wanting people to knit boobs for ladies in the USA and Canada I wondered why they would want a knitted boob, I soon found out it was for ladies who had undergone mastectomy operations and could not afford prosthetic breasts.

I quickly ordered cotton from the Internet and downloaded the patterns. The 48 hours waiting for the cotton to arrive seemed more like weeks. Finally, the material arrived and I soon had it on my double pointed knitting needles. I was quite pleased with myself and knitted several more. Excitedly I packaged them up and mailed them off to the address in the USA.

I then became aware that ladies in the UK also wanted them, not due to cost but because of their comfort.

Something nagged me and I had the urge to do something I’d never done before: I opened a Facebook group, then a website and Twitter account. From that small link, Knitted Knockers UK was founded.

My volunteer title is Trustee and Treasurer. I manage the website and assist on the Facebook pages. There’s the Twitter account to manage and I organise and mail parcels of supplies to the volunteers who knit for the charity.

There are 272 ladies on our Community page who support us in a variety of ways, and around 150 ladies who knit the prosthetics.

In March 2015 after a lot of hard work by many people the group became a Registered Charity. Lynne and I are two of four Trustees who work extremely hard overseeing the running of the charity, assisted by a team of three who do the administration. Together we make Knitted Knockers UK work.

Of course it wouldn’t work without all our wonderful volunteers.

Hi, this is Lynne and I am Trustee and Secretary.  My main task is handling the 200 requests we receive each month for our prostheses. Along with other responsibilities, I process and coordinate all the orders, which are knitted and mailed out by our volunteer knitters. It’s not unusual to find a small gift of a crochet heart or similar packed with the gift of the knitted knockers themselves.

Each Knocker is “Made with love and filled with hope” and made to the recipient’s request of size, style and colour. We offer a knitted and a crochet version in cotton and we also have our Aqua knockers knitted using a soft acrylic and perfect for all water-based activities.

The best part of all is that the Knitted Knockers are free of charge to the lady receiving them, and always will be, however many they need.

Our aims are to “To relieve the needs of women who have had a mastectomy or lumpectomy by the provision of a knitted breast prosthesis.”

This we do daily.

This is the kind of response Lynne as Secretary receives: “Thank you so much for my Knitted Knockers. Beautifully knitted and packaged with very thoughtful extras! I am so looking forward to a swim with two boobs instead of hiding behind my husband being so conscious of the flat side. Have had a quick ‘try on’ and a perfect fit so hopefully can go back to my nice underwear instead of boring practical bras.”

The volunteers love being a part of this charity and frequently say that they get far more from KKUK than they feel they give.

One of our volunteers said recently: “To be able to help and change lives without anyone knowing I am doing it gives me such a good feeling, whilst being in a position to ensure that the Charity will thrive for the benefit of the women who need us.”

We have volunteers from all walks of life with many talents but the one thing we all have in common is a need to be involved, whether it is by fundraising, by knitting and crocheting, or by spreading the word. We actually call our group a Community, as we not only support the recipients, but we support each other too.

And that is the reason “Why Knockers” make a difference to the lives of everyone involved.


Image of Joanna Dervisoglu and Lynne HawksworthJoanna Dervisoglu, Treasurer and Trustee of Knitted Knockers UK, is a 47-year-old Teaching Assistant, a Mum of four and Grandmother of three.

Lynne Hawksworth, 62, Secretary and Trustee of Knitted Knockers UK, is a retired Head of English, a Mum of two and Granna of four.

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11 comments

  1. Wendy Brown says:

    Please can you send me more information, the pattern and wool type, etc. Thank you

  2. Fred Neal says:

    Excellent continued work ladies.
    Knitted Knockers Charities (USA)

  3. Tricia Brodie says:

    I am a Knitted Knockers Volunteer.I thank Joanna for starting this group for people like me who have had breast caancer and wear a prostheses. For over 12 yrs I worn the heavy silicon prosthetic,this was uncomfortable but I did not know there were other things to wear out there.I love being a volunteer for this group and making knitted knockers. It makes my life and other ladies lives so much more comfortable.The group is like a family and we can share so many things,we have a laugh and support one another.

  4. RUTH MCRAE says:

    Thank you so much for featuring our wonderful group. I am a volunteer knitter and feel privileged to be able to help make life a little sunnier for breast cancer sufferers.
    My great admiration goes to our founder Jo and all the other ladies who keep things running smoothly.

  5. Rita Rake says:

    I’m a volunteer knitter too – we like to call ourselves knockerettes! We are all ages and all walks of life, united by a common purpose, to make a gift of love for another woman we’ll never meet, but who needs our help.

    Some of us have had breast cancer, most of us haven’t, but as women we all understand how important it is to feel comfortable and confident. Every knocker we make is crafted using all our skill and love, to give someone a lift and bring a smile to their face, and sometimes a tear to their eye to know that a stranger cares about them.
    The pleasure we get from knowing the difference we can make to someone’s life is immeasurable.

    I’m so grateful to Jo for her inspiration and tireless commitment to making her dream a reality. It’s changed many, many women’s lives for the better, including mine.

  6. Rhonda Russell says:

    As sole founder of this wonderful group Jo, you must be very proud of how far your idea has come over the last 2 years since you started it. Well done to you and all the volunteer knitters who supply knitted knockers to so many needy ladies x

  7. Joleen says:

    A fab charity who support women and each other.mtge trustees and admin are also volunteers. It is great to be part of this community.nxx

  8. A massive thankyou for featuring Knitted Knockers UK. We are run entirely by volunteers and funded entirely through donations. We are coming up towards four thousand ladies being supplied with our knockers. Amazing figure for a small registered charity.

  9. Sandra says:

    Well done Lynne and Jo. Thank you for all your hard work and dedication to the charity. From a fellow knockerette

  10. I am one of the Trustees for this amazing charity, and has been said Volunteers are the life blood of a charity, and so many Community based initiatives …for me Knitted Knockers UK, is so very important. Thank you to everyone who helps. There are many ways to help and our Volunteers work so hard to help the Charity in its aims to help the women who need us.

    I am so very proud of each and everyone single person who gives their time to help. On behalf of the women who receive the knockers a big, big thank you.

    Lovely blog ladies great read. X