“Little ships sailing to Dunkirk”

We are a nation about “Keep Calm and Carry On.”

The British public is very good at coming together in times of crisis. This time it is OUR war against a virus.

It is now a pandemic – and every day for weeks, the news reports on the number of cases and the ongoing shortages of Personal Protective Equipment for the frontline workers.

Someone informed Mum that The Fashion School in Kensington & Chelsea had set up a production centre since last Thursday for surgical gowns – one of the main items of PPE. They were urgently looking for volunteers to help.

So Mum and a few of our cockapoo friends’ mums went along on Saturday to volunteer. Mum warned them that she can’t use the sewing machine so they sent her to cut patterns. 🙂

They are using barrier sheets to make the gowns. As they are large and flimsy it”s easier and faster to have two people working on each pattern cutting.

Mum worked with Barnaby’s dad.

While Barnaby’s mum was sewing.

The next day, Mum was asked to help in the folding department.

The folding room.

As she was folding the gowns, she saw some had messages written on them by the people who were cutting the patterns.

Mum had to wipe away a tear or two. The volunteers are there because they want to protect our front-line workers.

More than a 1000 of these gowns have made their way to the Royal Brompton Hospital since they started production on Thursday!

They need more, a lot more to fight this marathon of a battle.

This and many of such set-ups are chipping in to help in the battling of the virus. They are the “little ships sailing to Dunkirk.” We will win this battle.

May’s comment: As I looked around the rooms of people who were there, I thought – this is London in 2020. How surreal!

How many of us imagined we would be doing this just a couple of months ago? But here we are – on a beautiful Spring day, hunkered down to help with the ongoing shortages of gowns.

All the volunteers there were positive, cooperative and willing. They were all keeping calm and carrying on. Together, we will battle through this.

This is one example of the many centres that have sprung up around the country. People just giving their time to help in any way they can.

Someone also told me about the Maidstone Sewing Group for NHS and keyworkers during Covid19 – one of the many sister groups all coming from For the Love of Scrubs. They are making whatever they can from whatever they have for the NHS.

Logistics in all this PPE acquisition and distribution is unprecedented. No Government can be prepared for the onslaught of the severity of the COVID-19 virus affecting so many sectors of our lives. Having to source and import PPE from countries far and wide. On an ordinary day, we cannot even completely trust some of these sources. But in a pandemic with some countries undercutting others – it is madness! So when we find ourselves in a ditch, we will find ways to make things right. We will do our part – just like all those “little boats sailing to Dunkirk.”

I wish the media (and Opposition Party) would use their “investigative powers” help to discover more of these little set-ups around the country and spread the news, call for enforcement on this battle front rather than play the blame game and shaming the govenrment. Their dramatised and fear reporting is causing further stress and anxiety in a difficult time for all. They should be reporting about these “little boats sailing to Dunkirk” – about hope, about bravery and the good in people.


  1. Liz Burman

    I love to hear stories like this. It will be the ordinary people doing the little things that will defeat this virus. Well done.😘😘

  2. Cheryl

    Your analogy is perfect! If everyone does her or his part we will defeat this terrible virus! Though I worry some here in the states just don’t get it!
    Stay safe!

    • Jill

      😘 well done to you and all the other brilliant people out there. THANK YOU .
      Stay safe . Big hugs to all the pooches too. You’ve made me cry again 💖

  3. Dee Marmaduke

    May, you are so wonderful to do what you do

    • Miss Darcy

      It’s not about me. The Brits are really good that when there’s a crisis we all come together and just carry on.

  4. Jill Green

    May,I so agree with what you say. The combination of defense and blame is fruitless and as you say merely causes more stress and anxiety. In my village in North Somerset like many others around the country, we are busily sewing scrubs, scrub hats and laundry bags from repurposed duvet covers, sheets and pillow cases, which are being received with open arms by our hospitals, GP practices and hospice. We do this willingly, because we can,

    • Miss Darcy

      There’s an army of us doing our bit to help. The media just keeps asking stupid questions and pushing issues that even the layman knows has no answer yet. We have to wait and be safe.

  5. Jane Groothuis

    I cried when I read this post, May. So inspiring.

    In the NYC area alone, where I live, more than 10,000 have already died.

    I don’t agree that no government could have been prepared. The US government could have been.There was a Pandemic Preparedness Team here in the US, intentionally dismantled by our so-called president. He had 3 1/2 years to replenish the national stockpile of ventilators and PPE, and did not. The US had a heads up months ago and he ignored every warning. An imbecile, wrapped in an idiot, coated by a moron–he is the leading cause of death main of death here.

    I hope you, and every other responsible citizen the world over who complies with social distancing and sheltering in place stays safe.

  6. Daniel Hall

    As a U.S. Citizen and a New York City resident, I agree with everything Jane says. He is the wrong person at the wrong time to be in his position. I’ll stop there about him.

    I have a suggestion based on my journalism and public relations background
    Perhaps someone at “those little set-ups” knows somebody in those 2 areas. If they do, that journalist and/or PR person should be sent an email giving concise details about those set-ups and offering an opportunity to interview persons at them and to take a tour at one or more of them. Alternatively a reporter who has been covering the virus in London might be contacted for the same purposes and in the same way.

  7. Dawn Powell

    I’m not going to get into the politics of all of this, I just wanted to say bless you to everyone that is doing their part. Whether is it is making PPE equipment or simply staying home. Thank you for everything you are doing.

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