Coronavirus: Seamstress swaps dresses for NHS scrubs

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image copyrightKay Symonds
image captionKay Symonds says she has been inundated with orders from NHS workers needing medical scrubs

A seamstress who usually specialises in wedding dresses has turned her attention to making medical scrubs during the coronavirus crisis.

Kay Symonds, who works from home in Peterborough, has received orders from as far away as Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Mrs Symonds said: "It brightens up my day to think I'm doing something good."

She said all her other work had been put on hold, meaning she could help "our fantastic National Health Service".

Mrs Symonds, who runs Kay's Dressmaking and Alterations, said two weeks ago she was still talking to brides and doing wedding fittings.

"They are not getting married in May or June now," she said.

The first restrictions on weddings in the UK amid the period of social distancing prompted by the coronavirus outbreak saw them limited to a small handful of people attending, before they were then banned indefinitely last week, along with other public gatherings.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionClinicians in some areas have expressed concerns about supplies of personal protective equipment

Mrs Symonds came up with the idea after seeing the For The Love OF Scrubs Facebook page, which includes a guide on making NHS scrubs.

After making her first pair, she posted them on Facebook.

"I was overwhelmed with the response," she said. "I didn't realise how powerful social media was."

Mrs Symonds said she had already received 60 orders and said NHS workers "all want them urgently".

"I shall hit the ground running. I don't have an army of people," she said.

"If other seamstresses can help I can get material to them."

She said it took four hours to make a set of scrubs, but she could produce four to six sets per day by batch working.

Mrs Symonds originally charged a voluntary £8 fee to cover the cost of fabric and postage, but has since started a GoFundMe page.

The former quantity surveyor, who turned her long term dress-making hobby into a job two years ago, said the coronavirus pandemic had been a "very big reality check".

"I'm in this for the long haul," she said. "Even after the virus has gone, if there are scrubs needed I'll make them."

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