Entire Somerset village kitted out with fabric face masks

An artist and a team of sewers have kitted out their entire Somerset village with fabric face masks.

Every resident in Croscombe, which has a population of approximately 600, has been made one of the masks.

They come either in plain blue or in printed fabric, including an award-winning artwork by Shelley Dyer-Gibbins.

She has turned her art studio into a sewing room to create the masks, with six others separately working from their homes in the small village.

Mrs Dyer-Gibbins began making masks at the end of March with fabric of her Cinegirl artwork she had in a cupboard.

After a few days, she saw a post online by local firm Westfield Medical offering off-cuts of medical-grade fabric.

This material is now used to line her masks, which are being provided free-of-charge for Croscombe residents.

Around 800 masks, which are collected at organised times to maintain social distancing, have been made so far.

“There are enough masks for everyone in the village and we have a stockpile,” Mrs Dyer-Gibbins, who has lived in the village for 20 years, said.

“People are mainly wearing them for things like going to the supermarket.

“I think the art masks, as I call them, are less intimidating perhaps than surgical masks.

“People have said they’d rather wear a piece of art than something plain and boring too.

“My work is usually on people’s walls and now they are walking round wearing it.

“I feel really proud. The most important thing for me is hopefully the masks will keep everybody safer.

“They also mean people aren’t taking surgical masks away from NHS staff and other key workers.”

Mrs Dyer-Gibbins said she had received requests from across the UK from people wishing to buy a mask.

She is planning to send these through the post, with all proceeds going to a local foodbank.