THREE and a half months and more than 3,000 items later, a volunteer team of sewers and stitchers have wrapped up their PPE-making operation.

Sew Grateful, which was started by Cove-based Carol-Anne Calder at the end of March, brought together a group of upwards of 70 people at any one time, many of whom have still not met each other, to design, create and distribute emergency equipment for front line workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

As the peninsula project drew to a close, 248 gowns, 204 sets of scrubs, 594 scrub bags, 2,081 face masks, 168 visors and 50 mask extenders had been handed out.

More than £7,000 was also raised through a GoFundMe page, some of which will be donated to an as yet unnamed NHS charity.

The heroic efforts of the group have been recognised by recipients of the PPE items in GP practices and care homes throughout the Helensburgh and Lomond area, as well as Robin House Children's Hospice in Balloch, a nursing home in Orkney, and even clinics as far away as South Africa.

READ MORE: 'Sew Grateful' volunteers donate 1,000th item of vital PPE to help in coronavirus fight

In an emotional post on social media, Carol-Anne paid tribute to the "incredible group of people" who helped make it all possible.

She wrote: "With good reason, my 'official' job title in the team is “The Permanently Bamboozled One”.

"The heavy lifting has all been done by a truly incredible group of people across our Peninsula and beyond.

"I am astounded, and forever thankful for what this incredible team have been able to achieve - now I just hope I get to meet some of them at some point.

READ MORE: Helensburgh care homes thank community for support during virus outbreak

"I am also incredibly grateful to all of the people who have supported our efforts - particularly the very many people who have either donated to our GoFundMe site or have donated fabric or other supplies to our efforts.

"I am sew grateful to have been able to help in some small way, as well as having something to occupy my time and, perhaps more importantly, for my mental health, to make sure I had lots of human contact every single day during the early phases of this pandemic - even if it was just by phone, messenger, Zoom or at a great physical distance.

"I’ve had a lot of conversations through glass, it brings a whole new meaning to the old Scottish joke “If I don’t see you through the week, I’ll see you through the windae”.

"I’ve met, or got to know better, some amazing people and I will be forever sew grateful for that."

READ MORE: Helensburgh's community spirit boosts PPE push by volunteers

In total, the group sent out 3,315 items of PPE, including more than 200 sets of scrubs despite only starting to produce them just six weeks ago.

Carol-Anne added: "I look forward to meeting and seeing everyone at some point when we are able to get together for one helluva party!

"Until then, I hope you are all able to enjoy having a bit more free time now and wish you all health and happiness.

"Now, pat yourself on the back and go pour yourself a wee glass of whatever you fancy - you more than deserve it."

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