HAIR and beauty students have come to the aid of their local hospice by donating a host of personal protective equipment.

Scores of face masks, sanitisers and aprons were delivered by Darlington College to St Teresa’s Hospice to help palliative care nurses protect the most vulnerable against coronavirus.

The idea of beauty tutor Rachel Hanson and her colleagues, college officials were also in talks with Darlington Memorial Hospital and council ward volunteers with offers of vital PPE.

Darlington College principal Kate Roe said: “This health crisis has proved to me just how close knit a community we are in Darlington and when someone needs help the college is there to help.

“Our students are doing an incredible job at the moment with their distance learning but the equipment they would be using in college, such as PPE, is just lying idle. So it makes absolute sense that the hospice should be given the opportunity to use it and staff and students are delighted to help.”

St Teresa’s Hospice chief executive Jane Bradshaw said: “We are incredibly grateful to the college and to students not just for the PPE but also for remembering us and the difficulties we are facing because of Covid-19.

“St Teresa’s Hospice needs to raise £3m a year to provide free care for people living with life-limiting illnesses and their families in Darlington, South Durham and North Yorkshire. But our ability to do this has been severely curtailed with the cancellation of events and the closure of our charity shops.”

She said the hospice had reviewed all of its services to boost levels of infection control even higher and the college’s PPE would be a great help.

Day services had been transferred to telephone only, while in-patient visitors must phone in advance, with numbers being limited to two per patient.

Vital community services, including home and rapid response care, will continue but patients will be asked whether they or any members of their family have exhibited coronavirus symptoms or been in contact with anyone who is self-isolating.

While the charity shops have closed, the hospice eBay shop is being operated by staff from home.

An on-line appeal has been launched with a Just Giving Page  https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/HugToStTsand members of the public can also become official ‘Friends of the Hospice’.

Mrs Bradshaw added: “This community has supported the hospice incredibly well for more than 30 years. With continued support, like that from Darlington College, we will be able to endure this extraordinary period and continue to help local people during their most  challenging times.”