To Mask Or Not To Mask

Thalidomide Trust NAC member Philip WilliamsTo Mask Or Not To Mask......

Our family are very fortunate during the current pandemic.

As a beneficiary my trust income is secure, but if any beneficiaries have concerns in this connection please see my article in the latest NAC newsletter here.

My wife is a teacher and both my daughters are at the same school as her. Their school is looking after their whole community very well and all teachers and pupils are using a pre-existing method of Microsoft Teams for e-teaching/learning.

We live in the south-west, near Lyme Regis, where there is a low population density and so much outdoor space - both rural and coastal. We also have a garden that gets the sun from 16:00 onwards.

Compared to many people, we have no real issues and so we are doing best to help others with volunteering, supporting food banks etc. As I say to my girls, any issues we face are only “first world problems” ! Postponing holidays or having a show cancelled are minor irritants.

Making masks to use as the lockdown eases

There was one small problem that my 12 year old daughter has solved that some of you might be interested in. Whilst we are fortunate not to be in any of the high risk categories and our more vulnerable relatives overseas are safe, Nia thought we should all have masks in case they become mandatory to go certain places as the lockdown eases. She made some for her mum & sister with the loops that go over the ears. Then she found a design that would work for me - take a look at the factsheet with photos and instructions including a Youtube link.


face mask

Phil wearing face mask front view

Phil wearing face mask back view

Truth be told, it’s not a pattern I would have chosen! My rugby friends have asked if she used my wife’s knickers !! To be fair, it’s reversible so I’m more likely to have the navy blue side showing when I wear it out. So far, I’ve worn it in public once & all my family were together matching so we received admiring glances and comments our faces anyway.

A mask that Phil can use independently

It’s obviously really important not to touch the outside of the mask when you remove before washing it. This is true of any mask or covering. I found it very easy to put on and take off with the elasticated tape around the back of the head. The mask needn’t be just for those with ear issues, as it is much less fiddly and may be easier to use for those with upper limb impairment too.

The science appears to be mixed on masks/face coverings and I'm definitely no expert. My personal view is that it does no harm in an enclosed space, as long as you don't become overly confident and you remember to wash hands as usual. I suspect it’s more likely to help stop me spreading it to someone if I were contagious rather than protect me from catching Covid-19. But crucially, if rules ever come in that you must wear a mask/face covering in specified locations including airports and on planes, then I’m prepared with something I can use independently without a last minute panic.

If you have any questions in connection with this or indeed anything else, please do not hesitate to contact me on 07554 016303 or

Stay alert !