A York volunteer group which used 3-D printers to produce vitally-needed PPE for frontline health-workers, and another group of volunteer seamstresses and tailors which made medical scrubs and other gear for health staff, are today among the first York ‘lockdown heroes’ who will be officially presented with special blue plaques.

Rebecca Brown of York Scrubs and David Young of Covid-19 Visors York received their plaques at a special ceremony organised by York Civic Trust in the courtyard of Fairfax House at 11am. Jake Furby of the York LGBT Forum and Jools Rebbeck and Marie Mortimer of Kitchen for Everyone also received plaques.

A total of 22 people and organisations were nominated for the special Civic Trust plaques by ordinary York people in recognition of their efforts during lockdown.

Presentations will be held at Fairfax House for other nominees throughout August.

“These are all people and organisations who made a huge difference to people’s lives during what was an extremely difficult time,” said Dr Duncan Marks, the Trust’s civic society manager.

“York Civic Trust is known for its blue plaques commemorating great people and places from the city’s past.

“But, given the extraordinary times we have all just been through and the great courage and dedication shown by so many people, we felt we ought to produce some special 'York’s Lockdown Heroes' plaques to recognise the huge contributions made by some of those people.

“We asked the people of York to nominate their heroes, and it is those people we will be honouring with these unique, one-off plaques for the heroes to keep as public recognition for their endeavours.”

So who are York’s ‘lockdown heroes’?

Those honoured today are:

York Scrubs

York Press:

A unique community project, led by York-based GP Rebecca Brown and seamstress Sarah Ashton, in which volunteers spent lockdown making scrubs and other vital PPE for frontline health workers. The project began when Dr Brown and Ms Ashton put out a call for donations of fabric to make protective gear for frontline health staff. They were overwhelmed by the response and quickly assembled a volunteer team cutters, seamstresses, drivers and admin helpers to make and deliver desperately-needed PPE to health workers in the city. York Scrubs was nominated by Buff Reid. To find out more about the project or make a donation visit yorkscrubs.co.uk/

David Young of Covid-19 Visors York

York Press:

David has been the driving force behind Covid-19 Visors York, another great community initiative to provide PPE for front-line key workers. He has led a group of community volunteers using 3D printers to make thousands of face visors for key workers in and around York throughout the pandemic. Their efforts have been sustained by donations from the public, including £1,000 from York Mosque.

David, 52, who teaches music production at York St John University, uses 3D printers in his work and found a design online that was being used effectively across Europe. The Covid-19 Visors project quickly grew from two 3D printers to 30, and developed its own a distribution network and partners across the region. Visors have been distributed to staff in NHS hospitals, paramedics, ambulance drivers, care homes, hospices, pharmacies and shops. Covid-19 visors York was nominated by Lucy Burns. To find out more about the project or make a donation, visit covid19visorsyork.co.uk/

Kitchen for Everyone

York Press:

More than 100 tireless volunteers at the Spurriergate charity continued to provide hot meals as well as clothing, toiletries, sleeping bags, snacks and other essential items to homeless and vulnerable people across York throughout lockdown. The plaque recognises the charity’s efforts in ‘providing hearty meals and other outreach services to homeless and vulnerable people in York’. The charity was nominated by Jools Rebbeck. To find out more about the organisation’s work, visit kitchenforeveryoneyork.org/

Jake Furby of York LGBT Forum

York Press:

Jake is a committed and proactive member of the York LGBT Forum, a charity which has continued its work to improve LGBT rights in York and North Yorkshire and to combat discrimination and marginalisation throughout lockdown and the pandemic. Nominated by his partner Robert, his plaque describes him as a ‘committed advocate for the LGBTQ+ community’ and a ‘loving, caring and selfless person.’

Other York organisations which will be honoured with ‘lockdown heroes’ plaques later this month include local charity Move The Masses, which has been delivering prescriptions and making welfare calls during lockdown; the Yorkshire Ambulance Patient Transport service; First York bus drivers who continued to operate buses throughout lockdown; Fishergate and Lord Deramore’s primary schools; the staff at Haxby Post Office; and the team at Copmanthorpe Co-op.

To find out more about York’s lockdown Heroes, visit yorkcivictrust.co.uk/home/get-to-know-your-heroes/