Handwashing at  Chipping Norton War Memorial Hospital got just a little bit more luxurious when Tanya Bainbridge and the Stonesfield Soap Company donated 42 gift bags of handmade soap and hand lotion to the hardworking staff. 

The gift bags contained a solid lotion bar scented by geranium and mandarin, and a Hygieia soap, so named after the Greek goddess for cleanliness and hygiene, enriched with a blend of tea tree and lavender essential oils. 

“I wanted to do something nice to say thank you to all the staff who are working so hard to support the community through the COVID crisis,” says Tanya, owner-founder of the company. 

Tanya started her company some seven years ago.

“I wanted to make natural soap and something a little bit different, and put my design into it,” she says.

Based in the small village of Stonesfield, she makes a range of pure, hand-made artisan soap, crafted from natural plant oils and butters, using the traditional cold-process method. She also grows flowers such as lavender, calendula and borage, as much for the benefit to pollinators as for their value in infusions.

As for the lockdown, she reckons she has been faring well. “Of course, there hasn’t been markets but my main channel is the website. I have definitely been better than many people.” 

Tanya’s gift bags have delighted community nurses, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, health visitors, the CAMHS team and domestic and reception staff at Chipping Norton. 

Jane O’Gorman, site administrator at the Chipping Norton Outpatient & Community Services Unit said:  “We are incredibly grateful to Tanya for her very kind and generous act, giving such a positive boost to the teams at Chipping Norton.” 

“One nurse told me she’s kept hers in her handbag so she can just smell it throughout the day to give her a lift!”