A Salford woman has been knitting mask exteriors for key workers.
The exteriors are a knitted band with large buttons either side to hook the masks to stop the elastic from rubbing.
Susan Holt, 51, started making the exteriors to help relieve the pressure of PPE for key workers during the COVID-19 outbreak.
“I went for a medical appointment last week, and I wore a mask for an hour and a half, and the top of my ears were really hurting where the elastic had rub,” she said.
Susan has chronic fatigue/ME, so often has very little energy making day to day life difficult.
She has made more than 150 exteriors and inspired many others to do the same, distributing them to doctors, chemists, hospitals, and anyone who needs them.
“It is personal to me, because I’m not a well person so I rely on the NHS anyway,” she said.
“It is just a tiny gesture that helps someone work because having sore ears must be a distraction.”
The exteriors have been extremely popular, with many people requesting them for friends, family or themselves and colleagues.
“People were begging for them at the beginning,” she said.
She posted about the exteriors on Salford Online and immediately received a great response from people requesting the masks and offering to help.
“It’s about inspiring people because I couldn’t take it all on myself,” she said.
“It’s given people a worth; they feel like they are contributing.”
Many Salford people have got involved with knitting the mask exteriors to not only help others but to give themselves something to focus on during this difficult time.
“I say, small things matter, and every single exterior is appreciated, so it’s not just a case of how it’s made me feel, it’s how I’ve got other people to feel,” she said.
However, she did receive some critical responses, making her question what she was doing.
She said: “I’ve been targeted by haters saying that I’m potentially killing people because they can’t sanitise them.
“My body can’t deal with stress so just them few words made me feel like I shouldn’t be doing them.
“But then I thought, no, because what I’m doing outweighs that one person’s negative comments.”
Her hard work has not gone unnoticed or unappreciated, with many key workers personally expressing their gratitude.
Susan and her helpers ensure all precautions are taken to keep themselves and others safe.
“There’s a risk to it, but my risk is very minimal compared to what others are having to deal with, so you take the chance,” she said.
“I’m doing it for my grandson as well, so when he’s older he can say ‘My grandma did this during the coronavirus pandemic’, because we’re going to be talking about this for a long time.”