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Audrey's life passion leaves a gift of joy

December 20, 2012 7:53 PM

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Port Adelaide players Nick Salter and Kane Cornes with the collection of handmade bears knitted by the late Audrey Gates

She had hoped that we would be able to do something with them so that people would be able to get enjoyment out of them

Children supported by South Australian charities backed by the Port Adelaide Football Club will benefit from years of dedicated craftwork by one of our most passionate members.

The late Audrey Gates spent countless hours over nearly two decades creating hundreds of knitted teddy bears, dolls and other characters in the club’s AFL and SANFL colours.

Audrey’s amazing collection – which filled her Murray Bridge unit - has been gifted to the club by her family following her passing in September at the age of 84.

Son Michael Gates said his mum gained a lifetime of enjoyment out of supporting Port Adelaide and many years of satisfaction from her knitting, with each character taking up to three weeks to complete.

“Mum took up craft and someone gave her a pattern for the bears and that’s how it started,” Michael said.

“She made one and then she started modifying them to her own patterns and it sort of snowballed from there.

“When she was alive she didn’t really want to give them away because she would get attached to them after she made them.”

But after Audrey’s passing, her family decided to donate much of the collection to the club she loved.

“She had one on the go when she passed away, so she was still making them right up until she went into hospital three weeks before she died,” Michael said.

The club will donate the dolls to charities it supports, with the first lot going to scosa which Port Adelaide also contributes to via the “Kicking Goals for scosa” campaign.

Port Adelaide has chosen scosa as the first beneficiary of Audrey’s gift in honour of the late Carlee Hodges - a niece of Magpies full forward Scott Hodges - who was supported by the organisation until her passing this year.

Michael says Audrey would approve of her labour of love going to charities that assist children.

“Definitely, I think she would be very pleased,” he said.

“She had hoped that we would be able to do something with them so that people would be able to get enjoyment out of them. That’s what she had hoped would happen.”

Audrey’s favourite Port Adelaide player was Brendon Lade whom she met during the club’s 2004 community camp in Murray Bridge.

She considered the club’s inaugural premiership that year to be her favourite moment as a Port Adelaide supporter.

“She always said that 2004 as far as she was concerned was her year and she was so lucky to have seen them win the premiership,” Michael said.

Audrey’s family has kept a share of the collection for future generations.

Any children’s charity wishing to be considered for a donation should contact the club on 1300 GO PAFC (1300 467 232).