Backyard half marathon to support scrubs for NHS

17 April 2020

Local artist Gillian Wood set up the Fylde Coast Scrub Hub just over a week and a half ago to help local front-line NHS workers who have faced a scrubs shortage due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The Hub uses donations to buy material and distributes it to local volunteer sewers to make up scrubs in their own homes.

The Fylde Coast Scrub Hub has smashed its initial fundraising target of £1500 and in response to reaching £2500 Gillian’s partner Martyn will be running a half marathon, in their back garden in Fleetwood.

Martyn Coyne from Lytham, encouraged people to donate to the Hub by offering to run a half marathon in his backyard. Part of the London Marathon alumni Martyn hopes to complete the half marathon in three and a half hours on Saturday 25 April – the day before the London Marathon was due to take place before it was postponed to October.

Martyn said, “We want to thank everyone for their generosity by helping us to support NHS staff with scrubs. I find it shocking that brave NHS staff who are on the front line in the fight against Coronavirus are lacking basic equipment such as Scrubs. That’s why I want to play a part and help plug the gap in the short term.

“Unfortunately, I can’t sew, and I am in a fortunate position whereas I can still work full time in this crisis, so I couldn’t help out with the Hub as much as I would like. One day my partner and I decided to run in the back garden to keep fit. From here the idea to run a back garden half marathon for charity was born. And it only seemed right that I should do it for a cause close to my heart where we can make a real difference for local medical staff and patients.

“Doing 13.1 miles in the back garden which is 1800 shuttle runs is going to be a hard task but I am looking forward to the challenge and hopefully this will enable the wonderful volunteers at the Fylde Coast Scrub Hub to sew more scrubs for those who need them across the health and social care sectors!”

The Hub has been inundated with local people wanting to sew scrubs and do their bit for the NHS, orders are flooding in and scrubs and scrub bags have been distributed to hospitals and medics across Lancashire, including Blackpool Victoria Hospital, Royal Preston Hospital and Lancaster Infirmary as well as local GP surgeries.

Gillian said, “I was wondering what I could do because I felt a bit helpless being at home and seeing the NHS staff, including friends and family members, not having access to protection gear. Having worked in film and TV, I have a lot of friends in the costume industry and I saw some of them around the country doing their bit, so I decided to utilise my contacts and experience and start a Scrub Hub here on the Fylde Coast.

“It’s entirely voluntary and we are working from donations only, so we need all the help we can to be able to sew scrubs for NHS workers across Blackpool, Fylde, and Preston. The community of people sewing has been amazing, people working night and day to get the scrubs out. The way our community is pulling together to help protect those fighting coronavirus is amazing. From all the offers of help, the kind donations and floods of messages I’ve read, I know that everyone wants to do their bit, however big or small. It is amazing to think a week and a half ago we had no money, now we have £2,500 that will go directly to making scrubs for NHS front-line workers.”

For more information about the Fylde Coast Scrub Hub please visit

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