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Scots gran makes over £11,000 for CHAS with fashionable face coverings fundraiser

Elaine Clarke making her masks
Elaine Clarke making her masks

A Scots gran’s fashionable fundraising efforts have reached over £11,000 for charity.

Elaine Clarke, from Longniddry in East Lothian, has been selling colourful face coverings throughout lockdown over Facebook, with proceeds going to Children’s Hospices Across Scotland (CHAS).

As well as proving a big hit with customers across Scotland, the must-have fabric masks have attracted attention down south and in Northern Ireland.

Through her Needles and Pines Handmade Crafts Facebook page, customers can choose from over 100 different fabrics.

Elaine, a former primary school teacher, has now made over 3,000 masks since April.

She said: “This all came about as I was initially making scrub sets to help key workers during lockdown and made a few face coverings for my nearest and dearest at the same time.

“My friends and family told me they thought they would sell so I decided to concentrate on making more of them to try to raise some funds for CHAS as I have been a volunteer there for the past five years. I set myself a target of raising £500 by charging £3 per mask plus asking buyers to make donation to the charity.

“I thought to myself if I raised double that I would be really happy but never in my wildest dreams did I expect to raise £11,000!”

The face coverings proved popular, and when Nicola Sturgeon announced that they were to be made mandatory on public transport and in shops, more orders kept flooding in.

It took a team effort with six of Elaine’s friends to make sure there were plenty of happy customers.

Elaine at work with the sewing machine

“To date, I’ve gone through 330 metres of interfacing, 1,050 metres of elastic, 4,035 metres of thread and 330 metres of fabric,” Elaine said.

“I think they’re so popular because they’re good quality, breathable and as they are hand-washed they are also reusable. They’re comfortable too as they are made up of a fabric outer layer lined with a firm interfacing to give it structure to fit the face. The soft inner lining also has a lightweight interfacing for added protection.

“It’s been rewarding seeing people order then re-order for their friends and family and I’m really grateful to everyone who has made a purchase and supported CHAS.

“I would like to say a big thank you to all my kind-hearted friends who gave up their time to help me make the coverings in the beginning. I’m back to making them myself at my dining table, or in the garden if it’s a sunny day and will continue as long as there is a demand for them.”

As well as making masks, Elaine has been reading and recording stories to share with CHAS families every week, as part of the charity’s virtual hospice.

Community Fundraising Development Manager, Laura Campbell said: “We would like to thank Elaine for raising such a phenomenal amount of money for CHAS through such a creative, rewarding initiative.

“The funds raised through these face coverings really will go a long way towards helping so many CHAS families continue to make precious memories together that will last a lifetime.”

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, CHAS has continued to support children with life-shortening conditions across Scotland.

While both Rachel House in Kinross and Robin House in Balloch have been providing end of life care, the charity has extended its CHAS at Home service and now also runs a virtual children’s hospice to support families who are having to completely self-isolate.

Through this service, families are offered extensive support by phone and video on important issues such as clinical guidance, financial advice and bereavement. CHAS family support teams also offer a range of interactive activities, art clubs, storytelling and friendship calls to children and parents.