A BUSY mother who devised a mask to help protect cyclists and joggers from pollution has seen the idea go into production because of the coronavirus.

Solveig Starovic devised her mask after a fly which got into her mouth almost caused her to crash her bicycle.

Life as a mother of two “got in the way” of her plans for the business, but when the coronavirus crisis hit, she revisited her designs and got the THYRA mask into production.

She recalled the near-accident in her native Norway that inspired the idea.

“I was cycling and enjoying the scene and I got a fly in my mouth and almost had a tumble. I was on an overpass and there were a lot of people around and if I had fallen off, it would have been bad,” she said.

“They say ideas come to you in a moment. That was certainly one of those moments.”

She intended the masks for and joggers in polluted areas, providing maximum protection while being comfortable and easy to breathe through.

The idea was developed during cycling trips around Poole Bay from her Oakdale home. “Between Wareham and Lytchett Minster, there there’s a lot of traffic and a lot of trucks I always felt the pollution afterwards,” she said.

With the coronavirus crisis making face coverings advisable in many situations – and compulsory on public transport – she refined the design during late-night sewing sessions at her dining table.

The THYRA mask is described as an eco-friendly, breathable face covering with a filter to block more than 95 per cent of particles of at least 0.3 microns in size.

“The aim was for it to be very comfortable but also to give some protection from the filter we put in,” she said. “We felt, stepping back to normal life after lockdown, this was a really useful product to have.”

The masks come in two neutral skin tones and can be washed at 40 degrees and ironed on a low heat.

They are made from regenerated nylon, which is retrieved from landfill and oceans, including from discarded fishing nets. Solveig had been concerned about “ghost fishing” – the trapping and killing of marine life in lost or discarded nets.

“I have two small children and worry that within our lifetimes we won’t be able to eat fish because of the toxicity level and all the microplastics,” she said.

Solveig’s children, Sigur, 10, and Liv, five, have been taking an interest in the business, with Sigur taking photos for use on Instagram.

“This was the moment we needed to go for it. I’m keen to build something so we can be part of the local economy,” said Solveig.

The masks are sold on the THYRA website for £19.99 including one reusable filter. A replacement pack of three filters costs £11.99.