Meanwhile another home manufacturer in St Leonards has been using self-isolation time during lockdown to go into yet more unusual production. Joan Wilkinson, 84, has hand-knitted three dozen diminutive firefighters to accompany East Sussex Fire Service on emergency call-outs where children may be involved.

Joan, a member of the Hastings Knitters group, says that each figure takes around three days to complete. Originally expecting to make around ten, Joan ended up supplying enough for every fire engine in the region – and donated all of the materials used to make them. She has also completed a diorama featuring a knitted fire engine for display when the Hastings fire station is able to resume open days.

“I won’t know what to do with myself now,” jokes Joan, who has also made woollen toys for the local ambulance service.

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