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Janet's Masks Take Off

One of our clients began a hobby during the pandemic which has led to her raising hundreds of pounds for a local charity and has provided protection for over 80 people - by making brightly patterned face masks. Here's how her idea bloomed into a successful fundraising venture.

The UK has been in various stages of lockdown for almost a year. And although we've been isolated, for some, this has instilled an inspiration to create something new and connect with others in ways that were unheard of before Coronavirus.

Janet Hilliar, a client of Chesterton House, had an inspiring idea and used her skills to bring it to fruition. For the past few months, she has put her expertise as a former dressmaker to use by creating high-quality face masks in return for donations to the local Air Ambulance service. We got in touch with her to find out more about her venture and how it all began.

The Air Ambulance is a cause that Janet supports every year by hosting a tea party at her home in the summer to raise much-needed funds for the charity. The pandemic has made this impossible in the past year and so when Janet saw a photo of the Duchess of Cornwall wearing a mask with fabric she recognised, a new fundraising idea brewed.

"I saw the picture and I thought, I could make that, and do it for the Air Ambulance. I thought I would make a few masks, and potentially raise £100, but I've been astounded by the result."

Janet, who used to be a professional dressmaker, sent off for the same material used in the photo she saw and set to work creating the masks. Each mask is made out of Liberty's Tana Lawn material, a high-quality 100% cotton fabric, and has three layers to protect the wearer from germs. Every mask takes Janet around 45 minutes to make.

"I originally sent off for a metre of fabric and had been selling the masks to friends and family but I soon had to send off for more!"

Word about Janet's masks grew and she has now sold over 80 masks. She hasn't set a price - instead, she asks for a donation for the Air Ambulance.

The Air Ambulance is a charity that Janet holds close to her heart and has supported for many years.

The charity provides local air support to those that are gravely injured and has recently expanded to provide a service for young children that are also in need of emergency transport. Despite providing life-saving care, currently the charity runs entirely on donations and does not receive any government funding.

"Living in the countryside as I do, I have seen the great work that the Air Ambulance does, whenever something happens like a riding accident. Charities have been suffering because of the pandemic, and the Air Ambulance is something I have supported for years."

So far Janet has raised an incredible £920, all of which has gone to the charity. She credits this amount to the generosity of everyone who has bought a mask.

"I am astounded by the money I have raised, I never thought I would raise as much, but people have been very generous."

Due to the current lockdown and the ongoing pandemic, Janet is sending masks on request via the post. If you're interested in purchasing a mask, you can get in touch with Janet on her email at to find out more.

You'll not only be getting some stylish protection but helping a great cause.

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