Oldest Man In Australia Loves To Knit Sweaters For Penguins

You can't handle the cute.

Though the penguins in the above photo are just plush toys, penguins of the Phillip Island's Penguin Foundation have plenty of sweaters to go around, too.

After activists from the foundation — dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating penguins — requested knitted sweater donations from the public last March to protect the birds from ingesting the oil while grooming themselves, many donors came to their aid.

One sweater donor, however, stood out among the rest. 


(Above: The Foundation announces winners of the best sweater contest.)

His name is Alfred 'Alfie' Date and according to Nine Stories, he's Australia's oldest man. At 109, he still continues to practice a favorite past-time of his: knitting.

After hearing about the penguin sweater, or "jumper," call out, two nurses from the "aged-care village" where he lives knew that Alfie was just the person for the job and told him that he should contribute.

"The two girls (nurses) come in to me and say 'We believe you can knit,'" he told Nine Stories in a video interview. And that's just what he did. 

"I can't say no," he said.

Though the Knits for Nature program has stopped accepting donations from the public due to an overwhelming response, at the time of the call-out, they expressed gratitude for Alfie's donations.

"It's amazing and we feel quite privileged to have him dedicating his time and effort to the Penguin Foundation," Lauren Jones told Nine Stories.

But Alfie wasn't the only one to put their skills to good use. Great grandmother Merle Davenport began knitting sweaters for the birds after an oil spill in 1988 and did the same after hearing about last year's call out.

"I've got to have something to do with my hands," Davenport told the Herald Sun. According to the paper, she's knit over 1,000 sweaters.

Now, the foundation has plenty of jumpers to go around.

Cover photos via Phillip's Facebook page.


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