Why the Pope could be wearing a facemask made in Norfolk

The Pope was given a special facemask made by Lyn Fairchild, of Cawston

The Pope was given a special facemask made by Lyn Fairchild, of Cawston - Credit: © Vatican Media

A woman who raised thousands of pounds making facemasks during the pandemic is all smiles after discovering the Pope will be wearing her handiwork. 

Since March 2020, Lyn Fairchild, of Howard’s Way, Cawston, has made 1,766 facemasks and received donations of well over £6,500 for the village’s 15th-century parish church, St Agnes – a place she has attended for more than 30 years. 

Mrs Fairchild has been using the skills taught to her by her mother and aunties when she was just a child, to make laundry bags for NHS staff and facemasks on the sewing machine bought for her by her daughter Anne. 

Lyn Fairchild has helped countless people and causes from her home village Cawston. Here she is with

Lyn Fairchild pictured at her home in Cawston with her homemade facemasks - Credit: Archant

But on receiving the news that one of her masks would be hand-delivered to the Pope, the retired hairdresser said she was "very surprised and delighted”. 

She added: “Despite the easing of restriction many people are still choosing to wear facemask so I am now working on a Christmas range which I still enjoy making and will do so as long as they are needed”. 

This month, the Pope was presented with gifts from Norfolk by the Rt Revd Graham Usher, Bishop of Norwich, who was joined by the Archbishop of Canterbury at a private audience with the pope at the Vatican in Rome.  

There is a tradition of exchanging gifts on these occasions, and the Archbishop Justin Welby presented the pope with a certificate of a charitable donation made to Bees Abroad, alongside a jar of Bishop Graham’s own honey from his Norwich-based garden, as well as Mrs Fairchild’s bee-design facemask. 

Earlier this week the Rt Revd Graham Usher joined the Archbishop of Canterbury at a private audience with the Pope

Earlier this week the Rt Revd Graham Usher, Bishop of Norwich, joined the Archbishop of Canterbury at a private audience with the Pope at the Vatican in Rome - Credit: © Vatican Media

Mrs Fairchild, who is also a churchwarden, said: “I was very surprised and delighted to receive a message telling me that Bishop Graham was intending to offer the pope one of the bee facemasks I made him, together with a pot of his honey.” 

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The Revd Andrew Whitehead, Team Vicar in Cawston added: “I don’t think anyone would have imagined one of Lyn's masks would end up with Pope Francis. Her efforts are a great example of how faith can find expression through compassionate action in the world.” 

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