14 June 2021

| | 2 min read


Queen’s Birthday Honours recognition for Newcastle sewing tutor

A Newcastle sewing tutor who helped her students supply much-needed scrubs to the NHS during the Covid pandemic has been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

A black and white image showing a woman smiling at the camera

Brenda McCutcheon - a sewing tutor with Newcastle City Council’s adult education service for 22 years – has received the British Empire Medal.

The award recognises Brenda’s service to adult education, in particular her efforts to help her students to do their bit in response to the urgent need for hospital scrubs during the initial Covid crisis in 2020.

Brenda was so determined that, even when she ended up in hospital herself after a fall, she continued to teach and support those in her class so that they could produce good quality masks, gowns, hats and scrub bags that were used by hospital and hospice workers.

Cllr Paula Holland, cabinet member for education and skills at Newcastle City Council, said: “Brenda is passionate about teaching people to sew and over the years she has shared her expertise, knowledge and skills with hundreds of learners.

“When her students told her they wanted to make scrubs for the NHS at the start of the pandemic she gave them all the support they needed – even sending them video tutorials and instructions from her hospital bed.

“Brenda has made an amazing contribution and I am delighted that this has been recognised.

“This award is very well-deserved and I would like to offer Brenda my warmest congratulations.”

Brenda said: “I’ve loved supporting my students to follow their dreams and help the NHS by using their sewing skills.

“They worked together to help make much-needed items at the beginning of the pandemic when PPE was in short supply.

“I feel very proud to have helped them and very happy to be given this award.”

The British Empire Medal was founded in 1917 and is awarded for ‘hands on’ service to the local community.

The award was reintroduced in 2012 for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and around 300 BEMs are awarded each year.