Things you wouldn’t hear in a Zoom call? Hugh Dennis leads lockdown mask making lesson
PUBLISHED: 17:00 17 June 2020
@ Yakir Zur Photography
Mock The Week star Hugh Dennis led a special Zoom event for the charity Mitzvah Day, showing people across the country how to make their own homemade masks using just an old T-shirt and a pair of scissors.
More than 250 people of all faiths and backgrounds joined the comedian on Zoom on Tuesday evening, June 16, with another 1,000 tuning in to the video on Facebook.
The masks made from the event were then given to friends, neighbours or family members in a small act of kindness.
Hugh and Mitzvah Day chairwoman Laura Marks OBE led the group in making the masks from a simple method involving no sewing, while also getting to know participants and discussing who they are donating their finished face coverings to.
The event was part of Every Mitzvah Matters, an initiative intended to highlight and encourage how even the smallest every day acts of kindness that people do for each other can be transformative for both the receiver and the giver, especially during this coronavirus crisis.
Laura said: “Making and wearing masks is essential for our physical safety but a real challenge when we are trying to meet people and build friendships in these times of uncertainty.
“By making masks with joy, as a community and with recycled materials we hope to show that together we can and will emerge stronger, more united and even, smiling.”
Hugh, whose TV credits also include Fleabag, Outnumbered and The Mary Whitehouse Experience, said: “Lockdown has done many things but one of them is that this is the largest audience I have worked with for quite a while, although if Mask Making with Hugh Dennis makes it to television then TV is in a very bad state!”
Hugh, whose father was an Anglican bishop, will be making a socially distanced delivery of the masks to his children, who are 21 and 23 and locked down elsewhere.
Hugh added: “Small acts of kindness are terribly important not only now, but always, and it is wonderful to see first-hand the vital work Mitzvah Day does bringing people of all faiths and none together to help others in this way.”
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Participants included The Reverend Margaret Cave, Rabbi Daniel Epstein, Rabbi Jeff Berger, writer and broadcaster Dr Ellie Cannon, City Sikhs founder Jasvir Singh, Muslim activist Mash Joy, Gabi Mendelsohn of Young JAMI and Ahmereen Reza, a trustee of the Jewish/Muslim Women’s Network Nisa-Nashim.
Dr Ellie Cannon – best known for her Sky TV appearances and column in the Mail on Sunday – was joined by her 16-year-old daughter Lottie to make their masks.
Ellie said: “There is nothing greater we could do as an act of kindness, or a mitzvah, than wear a mask. My mask protects you and yours protects me. This is social action at its best!”
She added it was a treat to be (virtually) with “the wonderful Hugh Dennis!”
One of the youngest participants taking part was Sam Lorinc-Young, seven, who made a mask with help from his dad Nick.
Both are members of East London & Essex Liberal Synagogue in South Woodford.
Sam said: “I made a mask for my grandparents because they are going to make a barbecue for my birthday on Friday, and I will see them for the first time since start of the lockdown so I wanted to show my love for them.”
Mitzvah Day interfaith advisor Rabbi Jeff Berger enjoyed the chance to work alongside leaders of other faiths in such a vital activity.
Jeff said: “As we return to public life, safe practices - like wearing face masks - are essential.”
The mask making event was run in partnership with AJWO (The Alliance of Jewish Women and their Organisations), Barnet Multi Faith Forum, Commonwealth Jewish Council, JVN- Jewish Volunteering Network, Near Neighbours, Nisa-Nashim, YoungJami and YourNeighbours.Org.
Anyone wishing to take part in further Every Mitzvah Matter events, including a range of online sessions, should contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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