Banburyshire village volunteer group to provide Harry Potter protective masks for children's ward at Horton Hospital

Patients and staff at the children's ward at Horton General Hospital will soon have Harry Potter protective masks to wear.

Tuesday, 26th May 2020, 8:35 pm

Kay Stevens, Shelly Newman and Louise Young are among the volunteers from the Middleton Cheney-based group called 'MC All Stitched Up' who recently received some Harry Potter fabric purchased from Aldi to use to make protective masks.

Volunteers from the group plan to make between 120 and 180 masks from the Harry Potter material.

Kay said: "Hopefully it'll be ready for this weekend. It's all about the childrden being empowered and protected. Hopefully they'll feel that way with these masks."

Grace Olds, a member of the MC All Stitched Up group, works on sewing some personal protective equipment (PPE)

Kay explained the masks will have filters sewn into them too.

She added: "I have some unicorn fabric too, and in legend unicorns are healers. Hopefully it will help them feel a little better about what they're going through."

People from the Banbury area village have come together to form several support groups during the coronavirus pandemic, which include 'MC Virtual Celebrations' along with the aforementioned 'MC All Stitched Up'.

Kay and her friend, Ceri Vessey Wilding, started the group, 'MC Virtual Celebrations', as a way of helping make sure people in the village still had a way of celebrating their birthdays.

Kay Stevens wears a super hero protective mask made by the MC All Stitched Up Group

The group has organised local birthday celebrations for two 80 year olds, a 75-year-old and several children. The group now organises three to four birthday celebrations a week all at a safe distance following government guidelines.

Then the group of volunteers heard about a need for scrub bags.

During the lockdown the group 'MC All Stitched Up' has made and distributed more than 2,000 scrub bags for NHS staff at the Horton General Hospital, the John Radcliffe Hospital and several area care homes too.

Members of the group have also made around 400 headbands and 600 masks for the NHS.

Claire Fisher, a volunteer with the group MC All Stitched Up, works on making PPE for the NHS

The sewing effort by the volunteers has led to a transformation of the village memorial hall into a factory for making scrubs.

Kay said: "It looks like an explosion of factory. We've made and delivered 300 scrubs so far."

The group includes more than 90 people who volunteer their time sewing. There are around 30 women in the 'Scrubbers' group, another 30 in the 'Bag ladies' group and another 30 in the 'Masketeers' group.

They also have around a dozen volunteers who wash and iron because they cannot sew, but want to help.

Hand sewn masks and head bands made by volunteers with the group MC All Stitched Up

Many of the volunteers work 12-14 hour days organising materials and sewing.

Kay added: "We've got quite a strict quarantine and sanitising regime. It's a huge effort.

"We've got an 83-year-old who's come out of retirement and dusted off her sewing machine.

"It's really grown. We've now got people from Woodford Halse, Bicester, Brackley and a lady in Stratford sends things to us in the post."

The local church in Middleton Cheney, All Saints, two local pubs, The New Inn and The Dolphin along with the Uppercut Hair Studio all made financial contributions to the sewing group's campaign to help the NHS.

Kay added: "We're not just covering our local area. We're now sewing scrubs for the NHS in Manchester and Birmingham too."

The Middleton Cheney volunteers also organised and delivered 240 cream teas to vulnerable in the community as part of the VE Day celebrations.

Kay said: "People are being so kind to each other. We just hope it carries on after the lockdown."

Before lockdown worked as a self-employed cleaner.

Kay said: "The fact that I couldn't work I thought I could do something small to help.

"I think maybe one thing the virus has taught us is it's sort of given us permission to be nice to each other."

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