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Readers rush to help during Covid confinement

Connexion readers have been getting involved in or launching initiatives to make life better for others during the confinement period, as Jane Hanks discovers

Members of a sewing group making washable face masks for their local communities are among many Connexion readers helping out during the lockdown.

The masks are based on a pattern, approved by the main hospital in Grenoble, featured in an online Connexion article.

Seamstress Cécile David runs the group Les Cousardes, based in Montfort-sur-Argens, Var, where members made 500 masks in just a fortnight for an association of home carers and nurses, as well as other workers who had no masks.

Connexion reader Rosie Rowell (pictured) recently joined the group and made more than 30 masks in the first week.

She said: “It is good to do something to help. I made mine for a retirement home and a local grocery shop for their staff.

“I also asked at the nurses’ surgery and the pharmacy but though they have enough for the present, they took my number just in case.”

Ms Rowell said the masks can be re-used as they are washable. The pattern is not difficult and she thinks Connexion readers all over the country might like to take up the idea for their own area, or just make some for themselves.

Anyone in the Gers who is elderly and sick, or who has young children and is finding it difficult to get to the shops, can contact a free delivery service set up by reader Colin Hargreaves. He won praise from local media for starting Gers Service de Livraison Gratuit and works with 10 French and British drivers.

The 69-year-old retired professor delivers in an area covering the south west of Condom, including his home town of Beaumont, Montréal and Mouchan, but wants more drivers to expand the service.

He created a website to help spread the word and would like anyone who might know someone who could benefit from his initiative to get in touch.
Email him at, call 07 58 57 88 91, or visit

Prof Hargreaves is alone at home after his wife left to visit their four children and grandchildren in Australia before the confinement period. He thought it would be good to spend his time helping others.

The Franco-British Festilitt literary festival, held every year in Parisot, Tarn-et-Garonne, has launched a series of online talks and interviews on Fridays at 17.00. Authors Jacqueline Yallop, Peter May and Kate Mosse took part in the first ones.

Co-organiser Liz Stanley got the idea after using online exchange platform Zoom for her work. Each writer gives a talk or is interviewed, followed by a question and answer session.

“We have been thrilled that the authors have been keen to take part and we hope we will be able to keep it going as long as the lockdown continues,” said Ms Stanley. See or

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