A BIG-HEARTED women’s group member has been awarded for her custom face coverings to help residents combat Covid-19.

Eileen Ryan, from Bradwell-on-Sea, worked tirelessly throughout the coronavirus pandemic making more than 700 masks, which she donated to the Community Shop in the High Street for residents.

The face coverings were made in different fabrics, so people could choose whether to have something floral, checked or spotty in many different colours.

These masks were free to anyone who visited the shop and some people even came back to collect another one when they mislaid their first one.

Residents soon learned to recognise fellow villagers while out in Maldon or Burnham, due to Eileen’s unique masks.

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Such was their wide appeal, one Women’s Institute (WI) member was stopped while out shopping and asked where she had bought her mask.

At one stage, Eileen was running low on fabric, so she put out an internet appeal and was surprised to receive material from as far away as Scotland.

The hard work of the long-term Bradwell WI member was recognised at the group’s annual general meeting last Wednesday.

She was delighted to receive a bouquet of flowers and certificate, which she said was “totally unexpected”.