Penguins have been feeling a little chillier than usual since 2016, but that’s because they don’t have Alfie Date to knit them a couple of nice sweaters for them anymore. But the reason why he started knitting and how he helped so many penguins over the years will leave you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside.
AGE IS JUST A NUMBER
Until 2016, Alfred “Alfie” Date was Australia’s oldest person. At 110, he was a friend to every penguin in Phillip Island since 2013, who had been affected by a major oil spill.
YOU REAP WHAT YOU SOW
He learned how to sow way back in 1932 when his sister-in-law taught him how to knit a jumper for his newborn nephew. Since then, his fingers have been actively creating all sorts of warm and fuzzy things.
A FRIEND IN NEED
When an oil spill prevented a bunch of penguins on Phillip Island from staying dry, Alfie decided he’d give them a hand. So he got to work and started creating tiny woolen jumpers to keep them safe.
A FRIEND INDEED
The Phillip Island’s Penguin Foundation put out a call for knitters to create tiny jumpers so penguins wouldn’t swallow the oil when they tried cleaning themselves up. Fortunately, Alfie needed something to do.
AUSTRALIA’S GOT TALENT
Alfie had just arrived at the Peninsula Village care facility on the Central Coast of NSW and decided to lend a hand with the skills he had mastered for several decades, knitting. And boy, did he knit away!
IT’S STITCHING TIME
In about 12 hours, Alfie made 13 jerseys which he stitched for the tiny penguins. It was really a no brainer. As soon as the two nurses came up to him to talk about the project, he was more than happy to help.
THE COLONY OF PENGUINS
These types of little penguins are only found in New Zealand and southern Australia, and there’s also a colony of 32,000 of them who live on Phillip Island. So those creative jumpers of Alfie’s were a real life saver and “OMFG” cute!
PUTTING AN END TO SUFFERING
Had it not been for Alfie’s sweaters, the grease from the oil spill would have allowed water to seep under the penguins’ feather coats, causing a great deal of discomfort and distress for these gentle creatures.
HE’S A SUCKER
The girls who used to work for Alfie would tell you that he’s a sucker when it comes to a good cause. He simply can’t say no, but Alfie was used to getting roped into projects for friends and family. “It’s a good way of getting along in life,” he added.
WHO MOURNS FOR ALFIE?
In 2016, Alfie passed away peacefully at his nursing home. He’s survived by his children, 20 grandchildren, and roughly the same amount of great-grandchildren, not to mention the thousands of penguins out there that are alive thanks to Alfie’s superb stitching.