A deaf woman from Millom has urged people to wear clear face coverings to help people who rely on lip reading.

Gaynor Tilby’s campaign came as the Government ordered 250,000 clear masks for frontline NHS staff.

Mrs Tilby believes the masks will make a big difference to people who, like her, use lip reading to help them communicate.

She said they will also help workers communicate with those who have conditions like dementia.

Mrs Tilby said: “I rely completely on lip reading. For me the wearing of face masks during Covid-19 has been a huge challenge, because I haven’t been able to read what people have been saying to me, particularly in shops and in restaurants where I haven’t been able to understand what’s been said.”

And while she welcomed the Government’s order, she believes the number of masks being issued is still not nearly enough to tackle the problem.

She added: “The news that 250,000 clear masks have been produced for the frontline is a positive step. The situations when you need medical support are stressful anyway and the thought of not being able to communicate and understand brings a whole new level of anxiety.

“For me 250,000 masks does sound a lot, but they will be used up quite quickly.”

Ms Tilby has used the clear masks with her husband since Covid struck the UK and hopes private companies will make them cheaper. She said:” I still hope that this Government initiative raises awareness in the private sector of the challenges of wearing masks where you can not see people’s lips.

“For myself and my husband we have both bought clear masks so I can lip read what he is saying to me.”

A spot check of online retailers found that clear masks were selling for £8.99.