Blake End fabric shop helps community by making coronavirus masks and raises hospice cash
- Credit: Natalie Walker
The owner of a fabric shop has been making facemasks for community-facing staff and vulnerable adults, as well as raising much needed money to support a hospice.
Natalie Walker of And Sew On Fabrics in Blake End said the masks had come about by accident.
“I was asked by a friend who works at Farleigh Hospice to make her a few masks.
“Her friends then got in touch and said can you make me one?”
Natalie said she has now made nearly 200 masks and raised £850 in donations for Farleigh Hospice, asking people to donate what they can afford.
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Natalie added: “It’s nice to have people coming to us to get fabric for scrubs, people who are making the uniforms and the bags to wash them in. We have been reducing our prices to help them.
“It’s like a little secret army out there of people squirreling away and coming up with clever things. It’s lovely.”
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Natalie has also been giving masks to those who work at Rayne Post Office, who in turn, have been giving the masks to some of their vulnerable customers. And she was approached by a nurse from Felsted surgery (John Tasker House) and asked to make some masks for their pharmacy team and received a lovely email thanking her for her efforts.
She said that as she has a whole shop of fabrics at her fingertips, the materials were very colourful including patterns like the Muppets, flowers and elephants.
“Some people have asked for plain black or grey if it’s for a uniform. Some are more colourful. It’s a way of adding a bit of joy into this situation.”
Her customers have also been making the bands with buttons that keep the masks on.
“I’m just one of hundreds or thousands of people,” she said. “It’s just nice to do something to give back a little bit.”
Natalie’s mother opened the fabric shop when Natalie was 11 and the store has just celebrated its 29th birthday as Natalie’s daughter has turned 11.
Natalie’s mum Cathy Groomsbridge received care from Farleigh Hospice before she died in 2015. Over the past five years Natalie and her family have donated £10,000 to the hospice charity, whose care is provided free of charge to those who need it, but whose costs are mainly covered by donations.
Have you been doing anything to help the community during lockdown?