Knitting Nannas take hate attacks in their stride

Members of the Knitting Nannas Against Gas have received threatening letters which crudely attack the widely known protestors.
Members of the Knitting Nannas Against Gas have received threatening letters which crudely attack the widely known protestors. Marc Stapelberg

THEY'VE been subjected to abusive verbal tirades, shouts of "get a f**king job" from passing drivers, and even had cars threatening to run them down.

A fairly resilient lot, the Knitting Nannas of Lismore are taking their latest experience of hate in their stride.

A disturbing piece of anonymous hate mail arrived at the personal addresses of two local Nannas on Wednesday, according to Nanna founder Clare Twomey.

Penned on torn shred of yellow paper was inscribed the cursive capitals: "SMAME [sic] SHAME - YOU KNITTING NANNA FAT SL*T - GO & DO SOMETHING DECENT".

The letters were reported to Lismore police on Saturday for the sake of putting it on record - although the Nannas aren't confident of tracking down the author.

The group also immediately shared the hate mail on their popular Facebook page and Ms Twomey said the post had attracted more than 10,000 views in two hours.

While the Nannas weren't taking it too seriously, Ms Twomey was scathing of the author's cowardice.

"Why when you're abused as a woman why does it have to be about sex and body image," she said.

"I think they are very angry and frustrated and can't express themselves with conventional, respectful communication."

The Nannas have run a very successful public campaign since they formed in the region three years ago, since multiplying to 40-50 branches in Australia and the UK.

Ms Twomey agreed that their public visibility and media savviness had made them a target.

"We're there to attract attention, that's what we do, most of it's very positive but we are an obvious target," she said.

"It's no bed of roses, there's been some really nasty things done.

But they also know how turn a negative into a positive.

"Anything like this just gives us more incentive to keep going," Ms Twomey said.

"Personally I was feeling a bit low, but when we got this letter I thought 'OK, time to get out there again'.


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