Sew great! Army of volunteers make scrubs for NHS heroes

A package is hurled through an open window on to the ground outside.
Jane  Simpson cutting scrubs at the Village Church Farm Museum in Skegness.Jane  Simpson cutting scrubs at the Village Church Farm Museum in Skegness.
Jane Simpson cutting scrubs at the Village Church Farm Museum in Skegness.

Inside the property, a volunteer in isolation has been sewing scrubs and wash bags for NHS heroes and has just completed her latest bundle ready for collection.

She is one of an army of sewers who are coming together across the county to bring desperately needed Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to those on the frontline treating coronavirus patients.

For the Love of Scrubs - Our NHS Needs You was launched by Ashleigh Linsdell, an A&E nurse at Pilgrim Hospital in Boston, and now has more than 42,347 members nationwide.

Washbags thank you from the Greetwell ward.Washbags thank you from the Greetwell ward.
Washbags thank you from the Greetwell ward.

Ashleigh never expected this kind of response when she appealed for help to get scrubs made. She said. "I m surprised it's getting as big as it is. I posted on Facebook asking where you could get material wholesale to make scrubs and was inundated with offers of help.

"Within three days there were 15,000 members.

"I have had messages that have made me cry, they are so grateful. As much as I am doing for the NHS, the whole community is doing just as much."

As membership soared, Ros Reynolds, who runs Sutterton Dog Park and makes dog beds, stepped in to form the Lincolnshire group, which now has 1,000 sewers across the county.

Carol Cawley of Burgh le Marsh sewing scrubs.Carol Cawley of Burgh le Marsh sewing scrubs.
Carol Cawley of Burgh le Marsh sewing scrubs.

In their first week. 350 full sets were counted in but this figure is growing as more machinists get involved.

Starting with 6,000 metres of her own fabric, she said: "It's just like during the Second World War when the women went into the factories. It's incredible how this has grown and how hard people are working to get these scrubs out there.

"But when we see the nurses with their faces black and blue from wearing PPE masks we know they are not stopping and it spurs us on even when we are tired."

Along the coast, there are 50 sewers across Skegness, Ingoldmells, Chapel St Leonards, Anderby Creek, Alford, Friskney, Welton le Marsh and Strubby, co-ordinated by Janet Simpson, who formed the fundraising group Skegness Scrubs Sewers for the NHS.

A delivery to Lincoln Hospital.A delivery to Lincoln Hospital.
A delivery to Lincoln Hospital.

They have raised more than £1,250 to buy fabric, which is cut on a daily basis at the Village Church Farm, ready to go out to the sewers. Last week saw the delivery of 36 rolls of fabric.

After lockdown, Janet was unable to continue her business creating frilly Unique Prams and found she had time on her talented hands. She said: When I heard about the ladies making scrubs I decided I wanted to put my organising skills and launched a fundraiser.

"My supplier donated some fabric and we have been able to buy more," she said. "Skegness based courier-haulage company Sam Hooper Haulage Ltd has now come on board to go to the scrubs collection points outside homes across the area.

"From there they go to an address in Sibsey, on to the laundrette at Pilgrim Hospital, before being distributed to NHS workers."

Wendy Cresswell sewing scrubs.Wendy Cresswell sewing scrubs.
Wendy Cresswell sewing scrubs.

One member of her team is Wendy Seabrook, who ran Caxton House guest house in Skegness before moving to Wainfleet All Saints. "I was tagged by a friend in the Horncastle group because she knew I liked sewing.

"I used to be a nurse and when the coronavirus pandemic started I felt helpless so this is a perfect project for me. After I had raided my stash I posted on Facebook for sheets and duvet covers, posted an appeal in a laundrette and it grew from there.

"The wash bags have been well-received too. They are used by NHS workers so they can get changed and put the bagged uniforms straight in the washing machines and not have to touch them."

Members of the groups come from all walks of life. Many of them have a special story to tell. such as Andrea Hall who said: "My daughter popped home from London and ended up having her baby 10 weeks early in the middle of the coronavirus crisis.

"This means she is staying with me for now.

"As she is a seamstress, she wanted to help to say thank you to the wonderful staff who have taken care of them both."

Lisa Phillips of the Skegness Scrubs Sewing GroupLisa Phillips of the Skegness Scrubs Sewing Group
Lisa Phillips of the Skegness Scrubs Sewing Group

If you would like to help, you can donate cash to We're Raising Funds for the Love of Scrubs Lincolnshire on JustGiving. If you can donate fabric, which needs to be polycotton and washable at 60 degrees, contact the For the love of scrubs - Lincolnshire page on Facebook. Fabric can be patterned or plain and if you can see your hands through it, it may still be suitable for wash bags. Any fabric suitable for children's wards would also be welcome.

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