A LONG-ESTABLISHED family business has been proud to support hospitals throughout the pandemic.

Allan Sheen Sewing Machines has been fixing sewing machines and supplying yarn for volunteers busy making scrubs for NHS heroes.

The Winsford shop has also been inundated with requests for wool to knit tiny hats and cardigans for premature babies.

"We have sold a hell of a lot of knitting yarn," said Jonathan Sheen, whose late dad Allan founded the firm almost 40 years ago.

Winsford Guardian:

Jonathan Sheen welcomes customers back time and time again and does his best to help everyone

"A lot of people stuck at home have taken up knitting and crocheting as a new hobby. We have customers of all ages, young and old."

The shop remained closed during lockdown. Jonathan worked from home doing postal deliveries and customers were able to collect supplies at a safe social distance..

Demand for sewing machines has also soared as the pandemic hit production and imports.

"It has done us good," said Jonathan, 47, who runs the business with mechanic brother Darren, 49. "People who didn't know us before come back time and time again and we try our best to help them out."

Mechanic dad Allan, who used to work in sewing factories, started the business from the front room of the family home with wife Pamela in Chester Road.

"It was a big dream of dad's," said Jonathan. "He didn't have a lot of money when he left the factory but luckily things started to pick up.

"It gradually got bigger and bigger. He got a stall on the market and me and my brother helped him on Saturdays."

After moving to a corner shop in Well Street, Allan took over their current premises in High Street.

READ > Councillors vow to honour Winsford war heroes amid coronavirus regulations

Winsford Guardian:

Jonathan Sheen says the shop is rapidly running out of space and he is keen to expand

Allan sadly died suddenly at home in 2009, aged 65. Pamela, 75, retired three years ago.

"Dad was a well known character in the sewing machine world," said Jonathan, who stocks all kinds of haberdashery and is a registered dealer for Janome. "He was a member of the International Sewing Machine Collectors Society and used to go to conventions with mum. He was forward thinking.

"He took risks. The old guy who lived next door offered dad our shop and two other shops and he paid for them over 10 years.

"We're running out of space now. I'm going up to the roof with knitting yarn," said Jonathan. "The pandemic has been bad for other people but good for us.

"We want to expand this shop."