HUNDREDS of children in Swaziland will have new clothes thanks to the efforts of Shrewton and District WI.

A total of 242 dresses and 44 pairs of shorts, made from pillowcases, duvets and leftover bits of material, are on their way to the country in southern Africa, where they are desperately needed.

Sheila Sweeney, from Shrewton, heard about the Dress a Girl Around the World campaign from Potterne WI and, keen to get involved, mentioned it at her local WI’s next meeting.

She said: “I just thought ‘that’s a brilliant idea’, mentioned it at the meeting and piles of stuff started arriving.”

Seven women from the WI have done the sewing, but the whole community has got behind the project, with those who can’t sew donating materials and money to help.

Mrs Sweeney said: “It’s just been absolutely brilliant. Lots of people have donated fabric and buttons and threads. I would go out for the day and come back to find a little parcel on the doorstep. People have been so generous; it’s just caught everybody’s imagination.”

James Meade in Salisbury kindly donated fabric remnants when Mrs Sweeney went in to buy some material and told them what she was doing.

Soon the women decided to make shorts too, so young boys wouldn’t be left out.

Then they decided they would put little presents in the pockets – such as hair ties and toy cars – to give the children something extra.

They have found a connection with a social worker in Swaziland who is planning to use them as an incentive to encourage mothers to bring their children in to the clinic for injections and inoculations.

The Dress a Girl Around the World scheme is run by Hope 4 Women International and has so far delivered more than 250,000 dresses to 78 countries.