GOSH! Will’s mask initiative is a real winner

Paul Stimpson

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Will Bayley says he is blown away by the response to his fundraising facemasks in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital – and looking forward to new celebrity-designed styles being launched in the coming weeks.

The Paralympic champion joined forces with Vicky Gill, head designer on hit BBC show Strictly Come Dancing, to design the first mask, which features a rainbow and his signature.

More than 2,000 of the masks have been sold in less than a week since the launch, with the proceeds going to Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH).

The children’s hospital is a cause close to Will’s heart as he was treated there for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma at the age of seven and also had surgery there for arthrogryposis, a genetic condition which affects all four of his limbs.

The cotton-based, washable face coverings are not designed for use in medical settings but can be used by people to help protect themselves and others in public settings.

They cost £9 for adults and the proceeds will help to fund equipment, Covid-19 research and support for patients and their families both now and after the current crisis has passed.

Click here to buy a mask

Will said: “I was chatting to a friend about what we could do to help during coronavirus and then I saw an appeal for fundraising from Great Ormond Street.

“I talked to Vicky, who I knew from getting my costumes on Strictly, and she knew of a factory which could make them and it all just came together.

“I designed the first one with the rainbow and signature and Vicky adapted it to make it look a little bit cooler.

“We’ve raised quite a bit and sold more than 2,000 since last week. It’s brilliant, I never thought it would be so good. I was a bit nervous that no one would buy them but really pleased with how it’s been received.”

Comedian Johnny Vegas is among those who have supported the initiative online and Will has used his sporting and other celebrity contacts to get more designs in the pipeline – with around half a dozen more due to be released.

Will said: “Every 10 days or so there’s going to be a new style and we’ve got some really cool people coming up. It will get bigger as other celebrities get into it.

“Johnny has helped me out by wearing it and promoting it – he might be one of the upcoming celebrities, you never know!”

Comedian Johnny Vegas sporting one of Will’s masks

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