‘Band of Stitchers’ produces 4,000 scrubs

A group of more than 60 stitchers from across Mid and East Antrim have made over 4,000 pairs of scrubs in around two weeks, to be distributed to hospitals and care homes.

Harold and Alison McCloy, founders and owners of Village Blinds in Pennybridge Industrial Estate in Ballymena.
Harold and Alison McCloy, founders and owners of Village Blinds in Pennybridge Industrial Estate in Ballymena.

Their tremendous efforts were co-ordinated by Harold and Alison McCloy, founders and owners of Village Blinds in Ballymena’s Pennybridge, together with family and friends. Harold said: “Although we had taken the decision to close temporarily, we wanted to do something to help in providing a product or service for our incredible NHS staff and care workers.”

With many fabric manufacturers also closed temporarily, Harold struggled to source a bulk fabric initially, until he spoke to Kevin Devlin, MD of fabric manufacturer William Clark and Sons in Upperlands. “Kevin kindly agreed to bring back some of his staff to produce the fabric we needed if we placed a minimum order of 10,000 metres,” said Harold. “A friend immediately launched a fundraising campaign to raise the five-figure sum required to buy the fabric and, within days, we exceeded our target. We had then started to cut and distribute the fabrics within our own factory to enable our stitcher volunteers to get to work. With the demand being so pressing, however, we had to switch to auto machine cutting of the scrubs, working with Bradfor’s from Rostrevor, who kindly offered their services free of charge. This allowed the 10,000 metres of fabric to be cut into pieces ready for stitching.”

Harold and Alison distributed the fabric to what they described as “an exceptional band of stitchers”, made up of over 60 volunteers spread right across Mid and East Antrim. Over 4,000 pairs of scrubs are now in the process of being distributed.

A collective statement from M&EA Council’s Group Party Leaders stated: “In recent weeks we have seen many fantastic examples of businesses in Mid and East Antrim being proactive and really going out to their way to do anything they can to help in the fight against COVID-19.

“Harold and Alison McCloy, their ‘band of stitchers’ and all those who helped with this project in any way, are to be commended for this remarkable display of thoughtfulness, selflessness and generosity. Exemplifying the outward-looking values that characterise the people of Mid and East Antrim, their kindness will be felt by hundreds of frontline NHS and care workers at a time of great need.”

Harold and Alison are continuing to raise funds throughout the campaign, with new project being planned to help the NHS and local charities. Donations can be made by Paypal ([email protected]). For further information on other methods through which donations can be accepted, email Harold McCloy on [email protected]



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