Preston family firm Plumbs help scrubs effort by programming their machines to cut fabric for volunteers

A family run firm has rushed to the aid of the national effort to provide scrubs for health staff.

Tuesday, 21st April 2020, 5:00 pm

Plumbs fabrics, based in Brookhouse Mill on Old Lancaster Road, Preston, had already donated 600 metres of specialist cotton fabric to local volunteers who are sewing new scrubs for nurses.

But when they realised volunteers were painstakingly cutting the patterns by hand, kind hearted staff decided to help speed up the manufacturing process by using their factory fabric cutting machines.

The fourth generation firm, which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, is aiming to cut thousands of pairs of scrubs.

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Photo Neil Cross; Brendan Murray at Plumbs with one of the medical scrubs the firm is helping to produce

Staff have even come into the factory voluntarily to help run the machines.

Proud campaigns manager Rachel Crisp said: “ All this came about because I saw a group of volunteers appealing for fabric on Facebook. “We were not aware they were also intending on cutting it by hand.

“We’ve led way a bit in the UK pioneering the cutting of fabrics using special machinery and we realised we could cut the patterns on these machines.

“It’s far quicker than cutting by hand - once you’ve drawn up a plan on the machine you load the material into it. The cut pairs then go back to volunteers coordinating the sewing.”

Photo Neil Cross; Robert Page, production manager at Plumbs examining one of the medical scrubs the firm is helping to produce

Plumbs was started 60 years ago in a humble stall on Blackburn market by Rachel’s great grandparents, and now employs 350 people in its factory in Preston.