A GRANDMOTHER from Combe St Nicholas has raised more than £2,000 for charity after launching a cottage industry making face masks.

Sue Helliker first raided her linen cupboard to make more than 200 face coverings in record time for her daughter, Amanda, who works in social care and was struggling to get hold of any back in March.

Sue’s skills with the sewing machine then got her granddaughter thinking and soon a couple of hundred became thousands, as a family partnership emerged and a fundraising drive began.

The family’s efforts were inspired by Sue’s 11-year-old granddaughter.

Poppy, who was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when she was just two, said: “Nanny, why don’t we keep on making the masks to keep everyone in the village safe?

“We can then suggest that in return for a mask people make a donation to Diabetes UK to raise money for them as well.”

Sue couldn’t resist and soon a cottage industry was born. Poppy took on the role of material selector and cutting out expert while her talented nanny got on with the sewing.

Brian and Elspeth at the village shop were recruited as the main stockists along with Ilton-based cake-making factory Cooks, where daughter-in-law Kelly and Sue’s other granddaughter, Alice, both work.

Twenty face coverings even made it to friends in France.

As Christmas draws closer Sue and Poppy are busy with a festive range. So far, they have sent £2,000 to Diabetes UK with plenty more in the pipeline.

What started out as a favour has grown into a fundraising venture which has not only helped hundreds protect themselves and others in these unprecedented times but has also made an important contribution to Diabetes UK’s fundraising in an extremely difficult year.

Phaedra Perry, regional head of Diabetes UK South West, said: “This year we’ve seen demand for our own services reach record levels, while our own funding has been significantly impacted. More so than ever, people with diabetes need us, but we need your support to be able to continue fighting their corner.

“We want to thank Sue and Poppy and everyone else involved in this amazing venture for their unwavering support despite the ongoing difficulties of the pandemic.

Without them and people like them, we simply would not be able to offer help to the thousands of people with diabetes contacting us, or to campaign to keep people with diabetes safe in the workplace, or to invest in the latest vital ground-breaking research.”

Diabetes is a condition where there is too much glucose in the blood because the body cannot use it properly.

If not managed well, both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can lead to devastating complications.

For more information, go to diabetes.org.uk.