How Berkshire has shown solidarity during the coronavirus pandemic

PUBLISHED: 00:00 30 April 2020

Windsor Castle lit up in blue in honour of the NHS staff on the frontline. (c) Andrew Thompson

Windsor Castle lit up in blue in honour of the NHS staff on the frontline. (c) Andrew Thompson


People across Berkshire have shown their compassion, going above and beyond, even thinking outside the box, to support the community during this unprecedented pandemic.

Scrubs Glorious Scrubs

Frimley Trust, incorporating Frimley Park, Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospitals, were in desperate need of scrubs for their NHS frontline staff fighting the coronavirus. And when fashion designers Catherine Prevost and her friend, Lynda Yong, owner of The Fashion Workshop in Ascot, heard about this shortage, they decided to do something about it.

Opening up her storeroom, Catherine donated cotton and bamboo fabrics, and Lynda and the team set to work making the stylish scrubs in bespoke, colourful prints.

Interior designer Mellony Campbell, of Finer London, also offered her help. With an embroidery off-shoot to her company, she began to monogram the scrubs with a heart, so NHS staff know it has been made

with love from a volunteer.

“Experts estimate the coronavirus peak is coming, and with all the extra NHS staff coming out of retirement to help, they have such low stock on scrubs. We were asked if we could help as we are all grounded, and of course we said yes,” says Mellony.

Help also came from the Mayor of Windsor and Eton, Syonara Luxton, who began fund-raising for fabrics. “London favourite fashion designer Maria GrachVogel has also agreed to get involved,” says Mellony.

They also asked for any other designers, manufacturers and dressmakers or individuals that can sew to help, and an army of seamstresses grew.

Mellony’s daughter, Evie Campbell, a pupil at Wellington College, has had her A levels cancelled, and took on the task

of co-ordinating the volunteers that have come forward.

“Right now, Evie is dealing with 310 volunteers via email. Fabrics are being cut and being delivered to those volunteers who are self-isolating and sewing the scrubs. Evie will then organise the collection and delivery to Frimley Trust, with the help of her friends,” says Mellony.

“All these girls from Wellington College have moved on from being devastated their A Levels have been cancelled and university places now hang in the air until the exam board decides a method to award them grades, to helping us. True Wellington teamwork!” says Mellony.

As we went to press, Scrubs Glorious Scrubs were near to making their target of 2,000 scrubs, and any extras are to be donated to London Hospitals. What incredible teamwork. Well done, everyone. Visit

Cosmic Events’ #liftingspirits Virtual Party

All his work has dried up for the time being, so professional DJ Tom Philpott from Sandhurst has decided to use his creative flair to put on free virtual parties to boost our spirits.

Tom says: “The Facebook LIVE party or, as I like to call it, ‘Boogie away coronavirus in ya front room parrrtay!’ can be found at

“I randomly got the idea after talking to some friends, saying we should have some virtual drinks to boost our mood in this weird period. Then I thought I might as well set up the decks and we can have a little boogie to take our minds off it. It really seems to have grown from there, reaching over 20,000 people online! Our last party went as far as New York, Canada and The Isle of Wight. We did shout-outs and song requests, and we even had a virtual bar, so that if people wanted to buy us a beer, we could donate the money to the NHS charity’s Covid-19 urgent appeal. We raised £700. We want to thank everyone for working so hard to keep us all well.”

Tom has been working as a professional full-time DJ for nearly 10 years now. “I first started out in local Berkshire clubs and bars, and then worked my way up to the London West End and into high-end corporate and wedding markets,” he says.

“As a local events industry business it has become a very challenging period and we have no idea of how the next few weeks are going to pan out. Let’s hope more people in the community come up with fun ideas to keep our spirits the highest they can be at this time. I believe music keeps our souls alive.”

Caboose & Co

Festival supplier Caboose & Co and Visions Group have co-ordinated the installation of a temporary staff village to support NHS workers at Reading’s Royal Berkshire Hospital.

Leading the project, Visions Group appointed Caboose & Co to supply and install 40 temporary rooms to create a staff village situated opposite the hospital in the grounds of Reading School. Rooms will be occupied for three-day shifts, whilst local businesses will be co-ordinated to provide room cleaning services between each stay. The staff village will also feature a pop-up supermarket providing convenience foods and key provisions required by NHS employees.

The site complements other accommodation being made available to the NHS staff by local hotels and organisations across the Reading community.

Tom Critchley, managing director of Caboose & Co, who was born in Ascot and raised in Sunningdale, says: “Most people in the events industry are struggling right now as large social gatherings are being cancelled every day. It will be a tough year for the industry, but we are not essential to the running of the country, so we’ll have to get through as best we can for now – we’re grafters so we’ll struggle through.”

Tom started his career running golf tournaments for the European Tour, where he learnt how to put on large events. “After seven years, I moved into sports marketing and event consultancy, where I travelled extensively and ran events on six continents – working in golf, F1, tennis and music,” he says. “A few years ago, I decided I needed to build something for myself so I founded Caboose & Co with a few others.

“We felt there was a gap in the market for quality temporary accommodation deployed in a different way to make it more economical. So, without realising it, I have become an expert in pop-up accommodation and deliver our Cabooses to events such as Glastonbury, the Royal Air Tattoo and the Ryder Cup. We also consult on how to bring more pop-up accommodation to events.

“With our clients pulling the plug on all our summer plans, I was reading a scientific paper on the impact of the coronavirus on the NHS, which stated the need for more beds in large numbers. I made lots of calls to try to contact people in the emergency services and we were able to play our small part in helping the NHS heroes working around the clock.

“Despite lockdown challenges, Caboose and our transportation partners responded and adapted quickly, ensuring that rooms were rapidly deployed and installed to help ease community pressures.

“We’re proud to play our part in these exceptional times and help provide a convenient, comfortable place for staff to rest after a physically and emotionally demanding shift.”

Caboose & Co are now discussing other coronavirus related projects so hopefully they’ll be able to do more. “And we are still planning for events that might go ahead in July and August,” says Tom.

Intelligent Health turns Beat the Street into #BeattheBug

Dr William Bird is a GP currently working on the frontline against the coronavirus at the Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading. He is also the founder of the well-known Beat the Street game and advises the UK government and WHO on physical activity.

The team is turning from Beat the Street to Beat the Bug with the launch of a new campaign to encourage people to stay active and fit to strengthen their immune systems to reduce pressure on the NHS.

He says: “My team and I are asking you to do one thing to help yourselves, help Britain and to protect the NHS, and that s to ensure you and your family get up and get active at least twice a day.

“Moving in short bursts is enough to boost your body’s production of Natural Killer Cells. These wonderful little cells work as your body’s natural defence system, killing viruses as they try to enter your body. In order to do their job effectively though, they need to be woken up regularly with a burst of exercise – that’s why we recommend at least two activity sessions per day,” he says.

New Cookham SOS Support group for coronavirus

The Cookham SOS Community Hub is a new collaborative support group set up to help members of the Cookham community who may need to, or who are already self-isolating, due to the coronavirus. The hub is based at Elizabeth House Day Centre.

Cookham Edit,, Elizabeth House, Cookham Voluntary Services and Cookham Pharmacy are now supported by a strong and increasing team of over 200 local volunteers to help with shopping, the collection of urgent supplies and prescriptions, posting mail, a friendly phone call and even dog walking.

Those who need help can reach the Cookham SOS Community Hub Team at Elizabeth House on the numbers below. They will put you in touch with a verified and designated volunteer for your area in the village.

“We are indebted to Jus Moody for having the idea and launching it in Cookham. As a trustee of Elizabeth House and the organiser of Cookham Voluntary Services, her initiative was a godsend at a time when we were wondering how we could keep our key community services alive during the pandemic,” says local Mike Clark. “The contributions of Elizabeth House, CVS and the parish church were to immediately recognise Jus’ brilliant concept and to jump on board and to pool our resources and databases.

The trustees at Elizabeth House, realising that the day centre would have to close, immediately responded by making their staff and facilities available to Cookham SOS. As from now, Elizabeth House is the community hub for Cookham!”

Jus, who runs an online interior decor store and a lovely pop-up in Cookham village, says: “The response has been overwhelming, heartwarming and motivating. The uncertainty of the situation has created an organic bond across the community, regardless of age or status. We had 150 members within 12 hours and in just over a week, this currently stands at 663 with a force of over 250 volunteers. Cookham already had an amazing sense of community but it appears there are no boundaries to it!”

Cookham SOS: call 01628 819224 Monday to Friday 9-4.30pm. Out of hours/emergency: Call 07458 095009 at other times.

Woods of Windsor donates hand creams

The origin of the Woods of Windsor luxury bath, body and homes brand comes from a small apothecary located in the shadow of Windsor as far back as 1770. This local apothecary served not only the townsfolk of Windsor, but also the Royal family and its distinguished visitors.

When Woods of Windsor were informed Bedfolk (a luxury bedding company) were creating care packages for NHS staff, Woods wanted to help and decided to donate a number of their hand creams towards it.

Free parking for the NHS

The Oracle in Reading has announced that NHS workers will be able to use its Riverside car park for free. All they have to do is register for a free space by visiting and select The Oracle from the list of locations.

Get in touch

These are just a few of the incredible people working to help during this pandemic. During this difficult period we want to do what we can to support Berkshire’s independent businesses and initiatives.

If you know a business or individual doing something a little different to help the local community, we want to hear from you.

Email us at and tell us about what you’re up to.


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