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Great British Sewing Bee accolade for Norfolk woman’s mask-making efforts

PUBLISHED: 12:12 30 May 2020 | UPDATED: 11:46 31 May 2020

Celebrity tailor Patrick Grant with fellow Great British Sewing Bee judge Esme Young.
Photo: BBC/LOVE PRODUCTIONS/CHARLOTTE MEDICOTT

Celebrity tailor Patrick Grant with fellow Great British Sewing Bee judge Esme Young. Photo: BBC/LOVE PRODUCTIONS/CHARLOTTE MEDICOTT

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A north Norfolk seamstress whose stitching skills have seen her run up more than 1,000 fabric masks has been praised by Great British Sewing Bee heart-throb Patrick Grant, who has promised she will be in line for “hugs” once lockdown restrictions are lifted.

Staff at Carlton Hall residential village wearing PPE made by Sheringham seamstress Debbie Gooden.
Photo: contributedStaff at Carlton Hall residential village wearing PPE made by Sheringham seamstress Debbie Gooden. Photo: contributed

Deborah Gooden, from Sheringham, came up with the idea of making masks as a way of keeping busy, after being furloughed from her job making home furnishing at Lisa Dawson Interiors, at Aylsham.

“It was shortly after the lockdown was announced that I saw an appeal by a nurse online; I started and I just kept going,” the grandmother-of-two explained.

Tweet from Great British Sewing Bee judge Patrick Grant praising the efforts of Sheringham seamstress Debbie Gooden. Photo: contributedTweet from Great British Sewing Bee judge Patrick Grant praising the efforts of Sheringham seamstress Debbie Gooden. Photo: contributed

Now, 1350 masks later, Mrs Gooden, who said she was inspired by her daughter Sheryl, a nurse, is celebrating raising more than £700 for Macmillan Cancer Support, and having her efforts praised on Twitter by celebrity tailor Patrick Grant, who is a judge on the hit BBC2 show, The Great British Sewing Bee.

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After being informed of Mrs Gooden’s mask-making feat by one of her ‘customers’ the Savile Row fashion designer, whose staff have made more than 100,000 items of PPE for the NHS, tweeted: “You are AMAZING, there are hugs coming your way when this is over.”

“I am a fan of the show, so it was really nice and very encouraging to hear from Patrick,” Mrs Gooden, 53, said. “At the beginning, making masks gave me something to do and, especially as they were then very difficult to get hold of, it was nice to feel like I could help - although I certainly didn’t think I’d still be going nine weeks later.”

Tweet from Great British Sewing Bee judge Patrick Grant praising the efforts of Sheringham seamstress Debbie Gooden. Photo: contributedTweet from Great British Sewing Bee judge Patrick Grant praising the efforts of Sheringham seamstress Debbie Gooden. Photo: contributed

As well as making masks in cotton fabrics featuring stars, flowers, hippos and geese, she has produced black masks for police officers and 24 isolation gowns for staff caring for elderly patients at Lowestoft residential village Carlton Hall.

Buying 10 metres of fabric at a time out of her own pocket, Mrs Gooden, who has also received donations of materials from local businesses and craft groups, spends her mornings sitting at her sewing machine and her afternoons dealing with orders and packing up and sending out masks, which she offers at a suggested donation of £1 each.

Debbie Gooden, who has more than1,000 fabric masks, raising more than £700 for Macmillan Cancer Support.
Photo: contributedDebbie Gooden, who has more than1,000 fabric masks, raising more than £700 for Macmillan Cancer Support. Photo: contributed

“It is quite time-consuming, and I think my husband is getting a bit fed up,” she said. “But both my mum and my step-father have struggled with cancer, so it feels really good to think that I have helped in some way.”


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