30th April 2020 — Since learning to use a sewing machine at the age of 5, Patrick Dixon, who is in Year 1 at Taunton School, has been busy creating facemasks and headbands on his sewing machine, under the supervision of his mum, Eva.
Eva said: “I’m very proud to have taught Patrick to sew. He is the youngest member of Taunton Scrubbers and everyone loves him; he’s even inspired local scouts to have a go at sewing for the NHS.”
She added: “Covid-19 has brought some much needed awareness to Cystic Fibrosis which Patrick has. He has needed to wear a mask from a very early age, and used to get a lot of stares; this is one of the reasons why he wanted to start making masks and other items for everyone when it became a necessity for the whole country.”
Despite being unable to leave the house for weeks, Patrick has been participating in home schooling, daily lung physio and has given up lots of his play time to continue with his sewing in order to help others.
Patrick says: “I’m used to having to be careful about germs all the time, but it must feel very scary for all the people who are not used to it. This is why I wanted to help. Also, I go to the hospital a lot to see my CF Team and I want to help keep them safe, because they help me all the time.”
Taunton Scrubbers is a voluntary group founded by Susan McDonnell. Susan has managed to inspire hundreds of people from the local community to join forces and make free scrubs and other protective items for the NHS and other carers. Orders for scrubs and other protective equipment is increasing exponentially with the number of items distributed to date at 2,951.
Local hospital departments, care homes, GP surgeries and other carers can contact Taunton Scrubbers via email and state what protective equipment they need (scrubs, hair caps, headbands or scrub bags) and the group volunteers will make them in their own homes using fabric and material either purchased by themselves or donated/sponsored by local shops and individuals who might not be able to sew, but still would like to support the cause.
You don’t have to be able to sew to be a part of the volunteering group, however. Many people help with delivering items and materials, fabric donations collections, sewing machine repairs, administrative aspects of the group such as answering queries and dealing with social media and storing and sorting finished items ready for distribution.
Eva commented: “This is a project all of us are incredibly proud of and it has really brought the whole community together in an effort to try help out those who are working so hard to keep us safe.”
Louise Leah, Head of Taunton School Pre-Prep said: “Everyone at TPPS are so incredibly proud of Patrick for his hard work and desire to help the NHS at such an important time.”