THERE has been an outpouring of support for an appeal to create knitted or crocheted octopuses for Worcestershire's tiniest babies.

Already, Carla Gregg, who set up Operation Octopus, has been delivered 15 octopuses since the article appeared in the Worcester News and online.

And more people have pledged to pick up their kitting needles or crochet hooks to help premature babies in Worcestershire Royal Hospital's neonatal intensive care unit.

Miss Gregg appealed for more people to make the quirky characters after seeing the positive effect they had on son Tommy who was born at 26 weeks on January 5 weighing just 2lb 2oz.

Premature babies find grabbing and clutching the tentacles soothing because they mimic the feeling of the umbilical cord in their mother's womb.

It benefits their wellbeing making them feel safe and comforted.

New mum Carys Thurlby has also seen the positive effects of the octopuses.

She said: "I'm currently in Transitional Care with my perm baby after spending time in NICU.

"We were given this lovely octopus and Laurence loves it.

"He keeps trying to pull out his nasal tube so I've been giving him the octopus to hold instead.

"He seems to like the feel of the tentacles.

"Huge thanks to the talented crafter who spent time making this octopus.

"We will keep it for Laurence forever as a momentous of his first days.

"Thanks also to all the staff in NICU and we the TCU for the care they've given me and my baby. They've been outstanding."

Miss Gregg, from St John's, Worcester, thanked everyone and said she was delighted other early babies will benefit from the octopuses.

They are now in the process of making laminated instructions to send out and are hoping to make packs with yarn thanks to money raised through the Go Fund Me page.

The 29-year-old said: "The response has been really great. We've had lots and lots of messages of support.

"We've already had a box of 12 delivered and another three dropped off as well as some bonding squares as well.

"I was hoping it would go really well. It's going to be lovely to think all babies coming into NICU can have an octopus."

More information on how to make the octopuses can be found at

Miss Gregg has set up a Go Fund Me to help pay for supplies to make the octopuses ( and a Facebook page charting Tommy's journey (