‘How can I stop?’ Norwich’s ‘headband lady’ on supplying free PPE
PUBLISHED: 08:29 12 June 2020 | UPDATED: 15:51 12 June 2020
A woman who has made thousands of masks and PPE headbands for key workers has said she will continue to provide the items for free for as long as possible.
Thorpe St Andrew Seamstress Hannah Wilde has given away 3,500 headbands to essential workers wearing PPE during the coronavirus lockdown.
The headbands have buttons sewn onto the fabric so that elastic mask ties can be looped over them instead of the wearer’s ears for more comfort.
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Ms Wilde began making the headbands after her daughter Charlotte – a care worker – came home with sore ears.
Having put a video on Facebook she was inundated with requests.
“I’ve had carers and ambulance drivers in tears after they’ve put them on,” she said. “One asked me: ‘How could something so simple make such a big difference?’ and when you look at these people who have sores on the back of their ears it just makes you ask ‘How could I stop?’”
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Ms Wilde has been leaving the headbands on her front fence to be collected by key workers, with a sign donated by a Norfolk business encouraging people to take them.
“The chap who donated the sign asked for a mask. He posted it on Facebook and we’ve since had about 900 orders for them,” Ms Wilde said. “It’s been an emotional roller coaster because so many people have suffered in this lockdown that seeing something positive has really made an impact.”
Ms Wilde is selling the masks for £7.50 each to keep her financially afloat and able to continue making the headbands for free.
“I made as many as I could from what I had,” she said. “But then the prices for the materials started to go up online, so we began using Anglia Fashion Fabrics to keep it local. We then opened an account for donations so that people can support what we’re doing.”
But Ms Wilde has dipped into her own funds for special customers.
“A little girl with a serious medical condition had asked for some Disney PPE and I couldn’t find the material anywhere – when I did find it I just had to get it for her and it’s now her favourite,” she said.
“I’m being recognised in the street as the headband lady – I want to continue doing it for as long as people need them.”
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