County First Aid Training Officer SMI Jules Perry has been awarded the Commandant’s Coin for her selfless dedication and hard work in making scrubs, masks and other textiles for use during the pandemic. She has coordinated a team of volunteers in Peterborough and distributed the items they have made to the NHS and the public, free of charge.
SMI Perry and The Commandant's Coin
After initially finding herself at a loose end at the start of the pandemic, SMI Perry, who is a skilled seamstress, was determined to keep occupied and do something useful. She said: “I saw a Facebook group that was making scrubs to support the NHS. I messaged the organiser, and within a few days I was cutting out scrubs and wash bags. I put a chat together on facebook and got donations of unused good bedding and other fabrics to make the scrubs. The co-ordinator needed help with dropping off fabric to people in the Peterborough area so as well as sewing I offered to help, and also to pick up completed scrubs and take them to the hospitals.”
SMI Perry at her sewing machine and distributing masks in Peterborough.
In May she took over as Peterborough group co-ordinator, managing the team, liaising with other organisations, collecting materials and delivering finished items to care homes and other places across much of Cambridgeshire.
To date she has made almost 100 sets of scrubs & 80 draw string wash bags, 1000’s of face masks, 85 chemo bags, 35 Christmas stockings and many ear savers (a small mask adapter which reduces pressure and discomfort on the ears). She liaised with Peterborough City Council to make and deliver 2000 face masks to them, 300 for Age UK, 280 for Better Bretton (of which she personally made 200) and has supplied care homes and youth and community groups with scrubs and masks. On seven occasions she parked her car in shopping centre carparks to give away face masks to Peterborough residents, handing out around 200 masks each time. She now keeps local shops supplied with face masks so they are available to the public.
Some of the extraordinary variety of products made by SMI Perry.
She said; “Doing all this was quite emotional, and it made me think about the people that had other life-threatening conditions such as cancer, which took my younger sister and my cousin not too long ago. I decided that I wanted to remind people that these people were still there and still needed support.” She decided to dye her hair blue, and within a week she had a received donations totalling £280 for Macmillan Cancer Support. She also discovered her local cancer centre was struggling for light sensitive medication bags, so she spoke to the cancer team and got the information of the type and size of bags they needed and passed the information back to her group.
During the Christmas period they also supported women’s refuge groups by sending food parcels, cleaning items, toys & gifts in stockings & sacks to women and children who needed them. Some of these she made herself, as well as scrubs for children who had to stay overnight at a care centre.
SMI Perry with her her dyed for charity, and with cans she has collected for Helipads for Hospitals.
She has additionally supported cadets with can collecting as part of their DofE and Cadet in the Community, and collected them herself.
On the 25th February her hard work was recognised by Cambridgeshire Army Cadet Force when she was presented (virtually) with the Commandant’s Coin by Commandant Colonel Fraser-Hitchen.
SMI Perry is continuing her extraordinary work.
Text by PI Doug Stuart with SMI Perry.