When Lucy White heard how nurses’ ears were being hurt by the face-masks they must wear on Coronavirus wards, she decided to do something about it.
Lucy designed a headband which solved the problem. Now she’s working up to 12 hours a day producing hundreds of them.
Nurses in all three of Devon’s biggest hospitals - including Torbay - are already wearing the bands.
She’s just had an order from Weston-super-Mare, and even staff from as far away as Preston Royal Infirmary in Lancashire asked if they could buy some.
“I’m not selling them,” stresses mother-of-two Lucy, who has converted the garden shed at her home in Kingsteignton into a headband ‘workshop, “but the response has been amazing.”
The bands are made from fabric backed by elastic casing, with buttons on either side which lift the mask straps off the nurses’ ears.
She explained: “I work part of the time as a private carer. I’ve worn a mask, and I actually made some bands for our own team.
“I saw stories of how masks were leaving staff with sore ears and even bruises.
“I’ve had people I don’t even know message me to say that their ears were so sore that they dreaded putting their masks on.
“One said ‘Your headband sorted that - thank you so much!’
“I first saw someone online putting buttons on headbands and thought it was a good idea.
“I made my own pattern, tried it on myself and it worked.
“I was thinking I might make about ten. I’m heading towards 200 now.
“I normally start in my shed about 8.30am, and I’m in there some days until 8pm.
“My husband Dan is a teacher, so he’s off work, but he’s very good keeping me fed and watered, and the kids drop in for a chat from time to time.
“Friends and neighbours have been fantastic, dropping off bags of buttons and fabric on the doorstep.”
Lucy has created a ‘demo’ video for others to follow and set up her own Twitter hashtag ‘SayCheersSaveTheirEars’.
She added: “When I started, I never dreamed it was going to have such an effect, but even if it brings a tiny glimmer, it will be worth it.”