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Ipswich tailor assembles sewing taskforce to make scrubs for local hospitals

PUBLISHED: 05:30 21 April 2020 | UPDATED: 09:15 21 April 2020

Ipswich tailor Richard Grimes, his wife Lynne and a team of 15 seamstresses are sewing scrubs to help NHS staff at Ipswich and Colchester hospitals  Picture: RICHARD GRIMES

Ipswich tailor Richard Grimes, his wife Lynne and a team of 15 seamstresses are sewing scrubs to help NHS staff at Ipswich and Colchester hospitals Picture: RICHARD GRIMES

RICHARD GRIMES

An Ipswich tailor and his wife have assembled a nimble-fingered taskforce to sew scrubs for NHS staff on the frontline in the battle against coronavirus.

Richard Grimes and wife Lynne, who own Richard Grimes Bespoke Tailors in Woodbridge Road, said they wanted to do their bit to help the “brave” nurses and doctors working the wards at Ipswich and Colchester hospitals.

Mr and Mrs Grimes were first inspired after seeing large groups of amateur seamstresses on Facebook club together to help the NHS - but now their shop has been forced to close doors during the pandemic, the couple and their team of 15 volunteers are now devoting their time to help.

Using specifications available online, the team are in the process of finishing their first 100m of fabric – although soon hope to have as much at 550m to create further sets, in addition to making protective gowns out of plastic.

Mrs Grimes said: “There are so many people doing everything they can to help and we wanted to be able to do something too.

“We put an appeal out on Facebook and had 15 seamstresses volunteer and now we’re all trying to do as much as we possibly can to help.

“Two of our helpers are 84 and 78, one of whom worked with Richard in his first ever job.”

The team has now set up a crowdfunding page to help buy as much fabric as it can – although Mrs Grimes admitted fabric is becoming harder to source.

It has currently raised more than £1,000.

Mrs Grimes said: “The community spirit has been incredible, we’ve had people donating to the campaign and we don’t even know who they are.

“Unfortunately all of the fabric comes from China, so once wholesalers run out of stock – which is already low – it is going to take three to four months to replenish. Thankfully being professional tailors we have the contacts to ensure we can get it.”

Mrs Grimes also praised the government for its support to businesses like their own, but said she worries for younger people starting out in trades.

She said: “If it was 20 years ago when we were younger it could be so difficult, I really feel for people and their businesses. The government is doing a great job but there will always be people who slip through the net.”

Those who wish to donate to the campaign can do so here.


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