THE OWNER of a fabric shop has been using her own money and materials to make protective equipment for key workers.

Natalie Walker, who runs And Sew On Fabrics in Blake End, has spent the last few weeks making more than 50 face masks for nurses, doctors and public workers.

Natalie has been handing out the masks for free but has asked recipients to make a small donation to Farleigh Hospice.

She was inspired to raise cash for the charity after son Daniel raised more than £2,000 for the hospice last year by holding sponsored litter picks in Braintree.

Natalie said: "“I’ve been giving these masks to key workers like nurses, doctors, and to my local post office, as many of their customers are elderly and are at high risk of infection.

"Nurseries have also reached out to say they’d like some for when teachers and children are back in the classrooms.

"It didn’t feel natural to charge for this equipment when I know how much the community needs it. My son certainly inspired me, and as a family, we do what we can to help Farleigh."

The hospice is held in high regard by Natalie after it help provide end of life care for her mum five years ago.

She added: "The hospice cared for my mother brilliantly five years ago after her breast cancer diagnosis. They supported our family before and after she died in September 2015, so we like to raise what we can and contribute to the fantastic work they do.”

Farleigh's chief exec Alison Stevens has thanked Natalie for her fundraising efforts and described her family's continued support as "inspiring".

She added: "This is yet another example of how our community is stepping up during this pandemic to support each other and support Farleigh Hospice, helping us to continue providing care for people with life-limiting illnesses, as well as enabling us to continue to work alongside the NHS.”