Linda sews seeds of hope and earns award in the process

A Magherafelt woman who co-ordinated a team of 30 people to produce 400 sets of scrubs and bags, crocheted ear-protectors and over 1,000 facemasks for frontline workers has been recognised for her efforts.
Linda Murray with her mum's sewing machineLinda Murray with her mum's sewing machine
Linda Murray with her mum's sewing machine

Linda Murray received a Specsavers Smile Maker award as well as an unexpected phone call from musician and actor Martin Kemp and his son Roman.

Mum-of-two and freelance designer Linda is a local hub leader for NI Scrubs. She was nominated for a Specsavers Smile Maker award by her cousin, Castledawson lady Michelle Clarke.

Michelle said: “Linda worked tirelessly at the start of the pandemic, bringing people together to create PPE and scrubs for nearby hospitals and nursing homes. It was a huge undertaking especially when no shops were open to purchase materials.

Linda's neighbours who helped cutting and sewingLinda's neighbours who helped cutting and sewing
Linda's neighbours who helped cutting and sewing

“With the help of social media and word of mouth my cousin located fabric, elastic, buttons, thread and cutting patterns and organized cutters and seamstresses and went on to fulfil often large orders of PPE and scrubs to help protect patients and staff in our NHS and nursing homes.’

Linda said: ‘My mum had left me her prized sewing machine and when I saw the call-out from NI Scrubs on social media I thought it’s time to put the machine to good use.

“I started off small, making three sets of ‘trouser and top’ scrubs from old duvets using Facebook patterns. Then I ended up moving into a management role organising professionally printed patterns through local company DJ Print and recruiting volunteer sewers in the Mid-Ulster area through social media.”

Of the phone call from the Kemps, she said: “Martin and Roman were very friendly and natural and when I told them I’d been inspired by my mum and her well-loved sewing machine, we had a wonderful chat about sewing.

Frontline workers who received scrubsFrontline workers who received scrubs
Frontline workers who received scrubs

“Martin recalled his mum being an avid sewer creating fabulous dolls clothes and their house being full of sewing. It was really lovely to have something like that in common.

“They also asked me what was my most vivid memory of these pandemic times and I explained it was the coming together of all our neighbours in Hazelbrook for a socially distanced celebration and fundraising event during the warm early summer weather last year.”

A freelance kitchen designer, Linda is in the process of setting up her design business which she hopes to launch around Easter time: “When the pandemic began my freelance work dried up and I had wanted to put my time to good use and was delighted to get involved with NI Scrubs. I’ve learned a lot in the past year.”