Meningitis Now staff - Mark Hunt

Mum and daughter duo selling PPE to fundraise for Meningitis Now

Mark Hunt | 4th June 2020

Cheltenham mother and daughter team Julie Fleming and Hannah have made the best of the coronavirus lockdown by helping people to protect themselves from coronavirus and show their support for the care workers by producing face masks, scrub bags and rainbow bunting

Julie and Hannah made PPE to raise funds for Meningitis Now

In doing so, the duo are raising money for Meningitis Now to help improve awareness of a disease that took their daughter and sibling in 1996.

Having been told to work from home on 24 March, Julie, usually a very busy Travel Administrator, found herself with time on her hands.

“My mind went into overdrive – I just didn’t know what I was going to do” she says.

“The 2nd week of lockdown felt like a month, to say that time was dragging would have been an understatement, until I spotted a post on social media by a local nurse asking for scrub bags. I made contact and a couple of scrub bags from pillow cases, which quickly turned into requests from further afield and not just for scrub cases. It turned out that the much broadcast need for face masks was a reality and before I knew it 20 masks were on their way to Devon”,  she continues.

Two months later Julie has hand-made over 400 face masks, 80 scrub bags and over 100 metres of bunting with her teenage daughter Hannah, who like mum was sent home from her job at the Botanist in Cheltenham.

Close to the family

Hannah, who confesses to not sharing her mum's skills with a needle and thread, does the admin and post runs, whilst managing the donations for their chosen charity Meningitis Now, which to date amount to £1,700.

“When Mum and I started making PPE we thought that we’d do it just keep busy, but before we knew it people were offering to make donations,” says Hannah. “And it just made sense to pass these donations on to Meningitis Now - a charity that has been close to the family since Jessica died as a result of meningitis and septicaemia aged 17 months.”

“We have, since Jessica’s death, been avid supporters of the work this remarkable charity does and it is gratifying to know that our modest efforts can both help protect people from coronavirus and provide some additional income to the charity at this difficult time”, concludes Julie.

Located in Stroud, some 12 miles from Julie’s home in Cheltenham, she often pops over to sit in the charity’s Remembrance Garden, where a peg has been placed in Jessica’s memory alongside other victims of this cruel disease.

Dr Tom Nutt, CEO at Meningitis Now, commented: “It is both gratifying and humbling to hear of Julie and Hannah’s efforts to protect people from two deadly diseases and their efforts to raise much-needed income for the charity at this difficult time.

“Like many people who have personally felt the impact of meningitis, and I suspect coronavirus, there is an overwhelming desire to ensure that others don’t have to go through the same experience and it’s this message that should be resonating with people at this time. Respect social distancing guidelines and remember meningitis has not gone away.”

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