Students of our own Brenda McCutcheon (a member of the congregation at St Margaret's and a sewing tutor with Newcastle City Learning) jumped into action to make PPE and scrubs for NHS staff. Brenda even continued to support their incredible work when she ended up in hospital herself! Brenda will be interviewed on Radio Newcastle on Monday at 11.20am.
"The Sew must go on!"
Published in CityLife on 6 May 2020
When Brenda McCutcheon’s sewing students told her they were joining forces to stitch scrubs and PPE for NHS and hospice workers she couldn’t have been more proud.
So much so that when she ended up in hospital herself two weeks later, she was determined to keep on working to help them achieve their goal.
Brenda has been a sewing tutor with Newcastle City Learning for 21 years and during that time she has passed on her passion and knowledge to hundreds of novice seamsters and seamstresses.
And when the call went up for people to make masks, gowns, hats and scrub bags as part of the nation’s coronavirus efforts, her current crop of students were only too happy to help.
With Brenda’s expert support, advice and direction they swung into action.
But then disaster struck and two weeks ago Brenda slipped and fell, fracturing her pelvis, and was taken to Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital.
“I said when they brought me here that I would carry on and do distance learning from my hospital bed,” says Brenda.
“I was so proud of my students for what they are doing and I wanted to carry on supporting them.
“One of the doctors got wind of it and when he came on his rounds he looked at me and said, ‘So you’re the lady that’s teaching people to sew scrubs from one of my hospital beds’. He said he was all for it!”
Brenda, who is now thankfully out of hospital and recovering at home, kept in touch with her students while she was in hospital by email and Whatsapp.
She said: “I would send them instructions and set them tasks, with advice or links to videos where different techniques were being demonstrated.
“They’ve done a fantastic job and have made lots of items that have been passed on to be used by the NHS and hospice workers.
“They’ve also found an NHS coordinator who collects finished items and supplies extra fabric.
“It’s great to see how they’ve worked together and supported each other and I’m so impressed with what they’ve done.”