An Initiative set up in response to a national shortage of ‘scrubs’ earlier this year has come to an end. The ‘Harrogate Scrubbers’, a group of around 350 volunteers, most of whom have never met one another, have been making and delivering much needed ‘Scrubs’, ‘Scrub Bags’, ‘Hats’, ‘Headbands’, ‘Gowns’ and ‘Face Masks’ for medical practitioners in a variety of medical settings across the Harrogate & District.
Harrogate hospital received over 2,300 sets of scrubs which translated into three sets for every member of staff. Two local hospices; St. Michael’s, Harrogate and Martin House Hospice, Boston Spa, also received much-needed supplies, Comic character scrubs were specially commissioned for the staff at the children’s hospice, who were thoroughly delighted with them.
Jane Birkenshaw (pictured), wife of John, secretary of Harrogate & Claro Lodge No 1001 and Chair of the Area 3 Provincial Charity Committee, has been actively involved in the Harrogate Scrubbers, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
John was part of the Scrubbers Delivery Team; delivering materials and completed items, travelling throughout North & West Yorkshire, both in his car and on his motorbike during the pandemic.
As reported in June this year, the Harrogate Scrubbers received a grant of £2,500 from the Provincial Grand Master’s Fund and the same amount from the Masonic Charitable Foundation; together with several hundred pounds from a number of Harrogate & District Masonic Lodges.
The Masonic funding provided a substantial amount of the much-needed material to produce the personal protective equipment.
David S Pratt, Provincial Grand Master of the Province of Yorkshire West Riding said at the time, “I’m absolutely delighted that we are able to support the Harrogate Scrubbers in this way. At the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, we set up a special COVID-19 relief fund to help organisations responding to the crisis in their own communities and the Harrogate Scrubbers is a shining example of this.”
Jane commented, “Many of the Harrogate Scrubbers had little or no knowledge of Freemasons, but soon realised what a generous bunch they really are. The generosity of Freemasons served to boost their image and standing within the community, as their kindness soon became the talk of the town.”
During the height of the Scrubs Initiative, a total of £30,000 was raised and utilised in the production of the PPE.
The Harrogate Scrubbers have now wound down their ‘Scrubs’ and ‘Face Masks’ Operations, but continue as a group dedicated to assisting worthy local charitable causes.
Jane went on to say “I was quite overwhelmed by the kindness of the Yorkshire, West Riding Freemasons and as a token of my esteem, independently of, but on behalf of the Harrogate Scrubbers, I decided to raise funds for West Riding Masonic Charities Ltd; to repay them for their kindness. I made a Limited Edition of 100 Masonic Face Masks, which sold very quickly and raised a total of £620.”
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