110-Year-Old Man Who Knitted Sweaters For Penguins Has Passed Away, But He Left An Incredible Legacy

An Aussie man spent over 80 years knitting sweaters for penguins, and melted hearts along the way.

Posted on: June 09, 2017

110-Year-Old Man Who Knitted Sweaters For Penguins Has Passed Away, But He Left An Incredible Legacy

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

Age Is Just A Number DV

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

You Reap What You Sow Bashoh

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

A Friend In Need Roughoutline

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

A Friend Indeed Open Culture

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

Australia's Got Talent Shared

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

It's Stitching Time Daily Mail

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

The Colony Of Penguins Shared

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

Putting An End To Suffering Jezebel

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

He's A Sucker Shared

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?

Who Mourns For Alfie? Shared

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.