HUNDREDS of face masks have been donated to care homes in Henley including Acacia Lodge by a businessman and the town’s Deputy Mayor.
David Rodger-Sharp, who runs the jewellers of the same name in Duke Street, has given 250 masks to the Chilterns Court Care Centre, off York Road.
Councillor David Eggleton has donated 150 masks each to the home and to the Thamesfield nursing home, off Wargrave Road, and Acacia Lodge, in Quebec Road, along with hand sanitiser and gloves.
Mr Rodger-Sharp has given another 50 masks to the food bank run by youth and community project Nomad, which is based at the d:two centre in Upper Market Place.
He says this should give peace of mind to the staff and those collecting or receiving food packages.
Mr Rodger-Sharp, who opened his shop about 18 months ago, said: “I’ve been welcomed into the community massively so this is really about giving something back. It’s just a nice thing to do.
“I’m in the fortunate position of working with international clients, so I’m able to source things globally and I know there’s a huge shortage.
“I imagine most of the people in the care home have children who must desperately worry about their parents. Also the fact they can’t see them now because of self-isolation must be very tough.
“It must be tough for the staff going to work, especially if you’re relatively low paid and have the added stress of not having protective equipment.”
Joanna Wojcicka, manager of Chilterns Court, said: “We have got PPE but with the current situation we’re going through it.
“It’s very nice that people are thinking about us and the staff members and ensuring they and our residents are safe.”
Last month, Mr Rodger-Sharp donated 100 face masks and 100 pairs of sterile gloves to the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading.
He bought 300 masks in February, soon after Britain’s first cases of patients suffering from coronavirus were confirmed.
He usually uses the masks when piercing customers’ ears to help prevent the spread of germs.
Mr Rodger-Sharp said: “When I donated masks to the Royal Berks I was talking to the nurses and they were telling stories about how they can’t go home and hug their children.
“We’re hearing about the shortage of personal protective equipment all the time. There is obviously a problem and I don’t think this is necessarily anything to do with the Government, but with supply and demand.
“There’s a huge problem with demand globally and if I have an opportunity to buy them I will.
“I’m not buying and trying to resell them, I simply want to do a good deed.” Mr Rodger-Sharp also gave 50 masks to Henley Town Council and another 100 to his customers before the Government ordered the closure of all “non-essential” businesses to contain the spread of covid-19.
Councillor Eggleton, who runs a house clearance business and usually uses masks for work, said: “The opportunity came up to purchase a few more and when I got those I checked to see if the homes needed them and they were running short.
“Whatever I’ve had and been able to get hold of I’ve been giving out to people on the frontline and at risk. I’m supporting anybody that needs it because they are doing an amazing job.”
He has also given masks to other key and frontline workers, such as postal and supermarket staff, and donated 100 masks to staff at Boots the chemist in Bell Street.
Both men offered the masks to Townlands Memorial Hospital in Henley but were told it had enough.