One of UK's oldest volunteers has been making NHS scrubs on 75-year-old sewing machine

Caroline Allen
Contributor
The 92-year-old has been hard at work. (SWNS)

One of the UK’s oldest volunteers has been busy at work during the coronavirus lockdown.

Connie Diggle, 92, has spent an hour each evening making scrub bags from scratch in an effort to help frontline staff.

In two weeks the grandmother-of-two has made 65 scrub bags on a sewing machine she bought in 1947 for just £1.

The machine is still going strong and as is the hard-working nonagenarian who says she’ll keep making the bags for as long as she is needed.

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Diggle has been self-isolating for the past eight weeks, so was grateful to be able to help in any way she could while she had some time on her hands.

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.

The 75-year-old sewing machine is still going strong. (SWNS)

Diggle, 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.”

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The 92-year-old was eager to encourage people to give sewing a go: “If I can do it anyone can.”

Diggle, who is clearly a dab hand with a sewing machine, even sewed her 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.”

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Like many of the volunteers, Diggle was spurred on by a need to give back.

The 92-year-old wanted to give back. (SWNS)

“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 since worked around the clock to deliver the very best quality NHS scrubs to hospitals.

The designer says the team works 16 hours a day to make sure NHS staffers get “professional grade” scrubs and scrub bags.

“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.” Maxine said.

A GoFundMe to raise money for materials has reached over £9,000 so far to cope with the thousands of requests have received.