W9W2 sewing group helps deliver 3,600 masks – and rising – to boost PPE stocks and help NHS fight coronavirus

PUBLISHED: 18:31 21 May 2020

A delivery of masks to staff at St Mary's Hospital. Picture: Alice Sinclair

A delivery of masks to staff at St Mary's Hospital. Picture: Alice Sinclair


An astonishing team of 60 volunteer sewers in Maida Vale have managed to create 3,600 medical-grade face masks for the key workers on the frontline of the coronavirus fight.

A delivery of masks to staff at St Mary's Hospital. Picture: Alice SinclairA delivery of masks to staff at St Mary's Hospital. Picture: Alice Sinclair

Marshalled by St John’s Wood’s Sandy Schwartz and Alice Sinclair of the Maida Vale and Paddington Waterways Association, the sewers have been spending their spare time with needle in hand in order to help protect hospital and other NHS staff.

Sandy, who picked up the pattern the group are using from the University of Florida’s hospital, told this newspaper: “At the last count, we’ve delivered 3,600 masks, but there are at least another 150 going out this evening.

“It’s funny to say, but it’s all come together on Facebook. I have a friend who is a doctor in New York, and she posted a link to a design for a mask that was being put out by the hospital at the University of Florida.

“Alice is this massive force of nature and presence around Maida Vale. I contacted her through Facebook and that was the start of it.”

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Sandy said she was stunned by how willing people were to get involved, adding: “Some people are retired or furloughed but other people are making masks in all of their off-time. People are just delighted to have a way to contribute.”

Alice added: “I’ve been trying to do the volunteer management and Sandy created the patterns and designed the masks. The hospital has actually said they are better than the ones they get regularly.”

Marisa Peek, a Bayswater woman who has been shielding for medical reasons said she had personally made “about 250” masks, and had been delighted to take the opportunity to thank those who were working hard to protect people like her.

The ex-consultant added: “I was looking to help sew and to begin with, the groups I could find were not in our area really. I’m shielding and looking for ways to contribute, so I put a thing on next door, and then I actually found Alice through the Wood&Vale’s article about food deliveries.

“I love sewing and I find the masks easy – compared to gowns, anyway! It has been nice getting to know these lovely people and becoming a little community.”

To help the W9W2 sewing group with its materials costs, visit

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