Express & Star

Stitch in time as vintage machine used to make face masks raises £1,000 for air ambulance

A family sewing machine used to run a business in 1934 has come out of retirement and helped raise more than £1,000 for the Midlands Air Ambulance.

Sue Harrison and Maureen Warrilow pictured with the 1934 Singer sewing machine they are now using to make the masks

Suzanne Harrison had been drinking coffee with friends in her garden in Stableford, near Bridgnorth, as lockdown restrictions eased, when she came up with the idea to give £100 to charity by creating bespoke face masks.

Having already donated 10 times their initial target, Suzanne and friend Maureen Warrilow, from Sutton Hill in Telford, will now carry on their charitable efforts throughout the year and have already begun their Halloween and Christmas production line.

Suzanne, 75, who used to work for a graphic design business, said: "We started off making them out of old clothes, old T-shirts, all sorts of things.

"It grew and grew and of course we'd gradually cut up everything we own. Now we're going out and buying fabric."

Sue Harrison and Maureen Warrilow

As demand increased, Suzanne's modern sewing machine couldn't take the strain and instead had to be replaced by her mother's modified Singer machine, gifted on her 21st birthday in 1934.

Suzanne added: "I had a slightly more modern machine which packed up – the foot pedal burnt out – so I went upstairs and got my mother's old sewing machine and it's worked like a dream.

"My mother used to run a business making children's clothes, she was very clever and could make just about anything."

Suzanne and Maureen purchase supplies from Allsorts in Madeley and Creative Outlet in Bridgnorth. They sell their masks at Rudge Heath Stores on the A454, Worfield Stores, J&J on the B4176 and Keith Alderson Butchers and Parker Taylor, both in Bridgnorth.

"We're on the way to raising another £500, so in another couple of weeks we'll be at the £1,500 mark in total," said Suzanne.

"It's amazing and only thanks to the people buying them and the shops selling them on our behalf – they do it at no cost."

The masks, which are 100 per cent cotton and reusable, can be bought for £3.50.

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.