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Heroes of Lowestoft: Meet the women who are helping to keep people safe

PUBLISHED: 06:30 17 May 2020

Sue Payne, a volunteer with the Norfolk Scrub Volunteers, who has been making scrubs for the James Paget University Hospital. PHOTO: Jessica Daniels

Sue Payne, a volunteer with the Norfolk Scrub Volunteers, who has been making scrubs for the James Paget University Hospital. PHOTO: Jessica Daniels

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As the country continues to fight the coronavirus pandemic, local volunteers and key services remain on hand to support those in need and those working tirelessly to save lives.

Sue Payne, a volunteer with the Norfolk Scrub Volunteers, who has been making scrubs for the James Paget University Hospital. PHOTO: Jessica DanielsSue Payne, a volunteer with the Norfolk Scrub Volunteers, who has been making scrubs for the James Paget University Hospital. PHOTO: Jessica Daniels

Sue Payne has been making scrubs for local health care establishments with the Norfolk Scrub Volunteers.

The volunteer army is over 1,400 people strong, with Ms Payne one of 800 sewers working alongside delivery drivers, pattern cutters and laundry services providing loose fitting but durable scrubs to any health care organisation that requests them, including the James Paget University Hospital (JPUH) in Gorleston.

Having moved to the town in September 2019, Ms Payne is now determined to do something to help her new community and felt she could assist by using her knowledge of sewing.

The former headteacher said: “Sewing is more me really. I’ve sown all my life and it’s something I can do quite easily and it’s something I enjoy doing.

Sue Payne, a volunteer with the Norfolk Scrub Volunteers, who has been making scrubs for the James Paget University Hospital. PHOTO: Jessica DanielsSue Payne, a volunteer with the Norfolk Scrub Volunteers, who has been making scrubs for the James Paget University Hospital. PHOTO: Jessica Daniels

“The organisation is very well organised. They take requests for various hospitals and we then make things up in the right colours and sizes depending on what they need.”

As well as scrubs and wash bags, Ms Payne has also been making face masks and says her time spent sewing is giving her a focus through the pandemic, which helps keep her motivated during lockdown.

As well as the Norfolk Scrub Volunteers, East Suffolk Norse are also carrying out vital work to help the vulnerable.

Tara Kent has been a home alarm operator for four months, working alongside a team of six to provide a service 24 hours a day, seven days a week to the vulnerable in the community.

Tara Kent, a home alarm operator with East Suffolk Norse. PHOTO: Jessica DanielsTara Kent, a home alarm operator with East Suffolk Norse. PHOTO: Jessica Daniels

The home alarm system gives “support for the elderly or vulnerable as a backup to their family if they are living alone,” operations manager Mike Daniels said.

By pushing a button on a key fob, which is usually worn as a necklace or bracelet, those in need can be assisted by the operator over the fob, which acts like a phone and means they can often be helped remotely, removing the risk of others entering their homes during lockdown. The emergency services or family members can also be contacted if necessary, giving the owner peace of mind that a friendly voice and help is at hand if needed.


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