One of the UK’s oldest volunteers is helping sew scrub bags for frontline NHS staff using a sewing machine she bought for £1 — nearly 75 YEARS ago.
Caring Connie Diggle, 92, has spent an hour each evening diligently making scrub bags from scratch in an effort to help frontline staff on a sewing machine she bought in 1947.
In two weeks the hard-working grandmother-of-two has hand-crafted 65 scrub bags and she says she will keep on going for as long as they need her to.
The nonagenarian has praised frontline workers for their “life saving” work and said it was critical that communities banded together in difficult times.
Connie has been self isolating for eight weeks and said she was delighted to be able to spend her time doing something useful.
She has been sending weekly deliveries to the Scrubs Hub group, who are a community driven project of volunteers sewing scrubs and other necessities for the NHS.
Connie, from Bolton, Lancs., said: “I was asked if I could help some NHS staff by sewing some scrub bugs and I said certainly.
“I was delighted they asked me and even more so to be able to lend a helping hand.
“I immediately got the measurements done and the material and I started sewing about two weeks ago.
“But I make more mistakes on the computer with the emails so I prefer sewing.
“I feel a massive responsibility to the NHS, and I think we all should. I’m doing this for the NHS, for my doctor, for my health, and for England.
“With everything that is happening I’m delighted that I can do something good and it’s also giving me something to do.
“I’m so impressed with Scrub Hub and what they do, I think it’s so important that we come together and do everything we can to help.
“What they do is great and I want to encourage others to help in any way they can.”
She added: “If I can do this anyone can.”
Connie says she’s been sewing since she was just a girl, as during the war it became a necessity to learn new skills.
Since then, 5ft Connie found herself sewing throughout her life altering clothing to fit her petite size.
Her mum bought her the machine in 1947 for £1, which came to good use just two years later when she sewed her own wedding dress.
Connie said: “I sewed everything by hand.
“I sewed my own wedding dress – it had to be done in secret as the men weren’t allowed to see it.
“I sewed each night and it took about three weeks but I was so happy with how it came out.
“Everyone was so surprised that I’d made it myself, it had a vogue pattern which was very fashionable at the time.
“The sewing machine was worth every penny – I’m always happy to find a bargain.”
But since lockdown Connie has kept herself busy and decided to use her sewing prowess to help NHS staff.
She said: “I have been very lucky in my life, with my health, my children who take care of me, I’ve got friends, so I want to give back.
“It’s been so uplifting to see everyone come together, it’s a community spirit which is so essential in difficult times.
“The doctors and nurses are risking their lives to save ours, it’s the least we can do.”
Maxine Grimshaw, 59, set up the Scrubs Hub group on Facebook and has taken on the “herculean” task of organising the community effort.
The designer says the team works 16 hours a day to make sure NHS staffers get “professional grade” scrubs and scrub bags.
Maxine, from Ramsbottom, Greater Manchester, said: “We are spending about 16 hours a day working to make sure we get everything done – it’s almost on a manufacturing scale.
“There is a massive shortage of scrubs and we’ve had NHS staff ringing us constantly to get orders in.
“There’s a real community spirit and we’ve had people trying to help in any way they can.”
A GoFundMe to raise money for materials has reached over £9,000 so far to cope with the thousands of requests have received.