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Sew far, sew good as Moray ex-serviceman gets to work on scrubs


By Lorna Thompson

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A HOPEMAN ex-serviceman has been running a military-style operation to make work clothing for local health and social care workers.

Martin Boon (55), from Hopeman, now a stitcher to trade, has made around 50 items so far, becoming a major contributor to the Moray Scrubs network which has delivered hundreds of sets of scrubs to Dr Gray's Hospital and other care settings around the north-east and beyond since forming last month.

Determined to keep busy and focused while furloughed from his job as a trimmer at the Stagecoach depot in Elgin, Martin enlisted the help of his whole family in scrubs production.

The former RAF painter and finisher uses an industrial sewing machine in his work to make and repair seat covers so he was familiar with processes such as cutting patterns. But he said the switch to making scrubs was still a learning curve.

Martin Boon, from Hopeman, has been using his work skills as a Stagecoach trimmer to sew scrubs for local health workers as part of the Moray Scrubs effort. Picture: Daniel Forsyth.
Martin Boon, from Hopeman, has been using his work skills as a Stagecoach trimmer to sew scrubs for local health workers as part of the Moray Scrubs effort. Picture: Daniel Forsyth.

Martin, originally from Bristol, said: "The first set of scrubs took me nine hours to make. Now I can knock out a set in two or three hours.

"My aim while off work was to get up early every day, as I'm used to doing, and make a set of scrubs. It has stopped me going stir crazy and given me a bit of continuity and routine.

"I started back at work again recently so now when I get home at night I sew up some scrubs tops or bottoms."

Martin's brother, Phil Boon, an ambulance care assistant for the Scottish Ambulance Service as part of the Patient Transfer Service, and sister-in-law Katie, also from Hopeman, have stepped up to form a well-oiled family production line by cutting out fabric, sorting components and folding hems. And Martin's wife, Michelle, has had the ironing board permanently set up to press seams and pockets.

Martin Boon is joined by Sylvia Jamieson (left) and Laura Cameron (right), from Moray Scrubs, at the Stagecoach depot in Elgin where he works. Picture: Daniel Forsyth.
Martin Boon is joined by Sylvia Jamieson (left) and Laura Cameron (right), from Moray Scrubs, at the Stagecoach depot in Elgin where he works. Picture: Daniel Forsyth.

Among his many popular and colourful scrubs were two tops and a set of bottoms made from a Harry Potter Hogwarts duvet cover, a set featuring pop band One Direction and another printed with Japanese figures.

Martin said: "It's great to see the doctors and nurses in the scrubs. They say they like wearing them and that they'd love to keep using them. It adds a bit of colour to their day and raises a few smiles."

Martin's house has now become the Moray Scrubs Hopeman drop-off point, with a lidded box in the garden, and the team has seen a great local response.

Peter Knight, managing director for Stagecoach Bluebird in Elgin, said: "I was really pleased to hear Martin was able to use his skills to support the NHS while he was on furlough.

"I am extremely proud of how our whole team are handling the challenges we have been faced with, as well as all of the voluntary support given in the local communities."

Moray Scrubs has burgeoned in recent weeks to become a community of around 400 helpers,

The scrubs patterns, which originated from the Shetland Scrubs Project, are being used far and wide as communities do what they can to assist health services around the globe cope with the pandemic.

Martin has passed on the Moray Scrubs sewing patterns via his voluntary work contacts through British Divers Marine Life Rescue – so the scrubs template has now reached stitchers in Borneo.

More stories here.


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