Sunderland father and son begin PPE production plant on kitchen bench
A father and son have been praised after manufacturing hundreds of protective visors in their own home to support key workers during the coronavirus crisis.
Darren and Ben Ward, from Fatfield, Washington, have set up a mini-production plant on a kitchen bench and are using a 3D printer which previously made toys.
While the family were initially covering the cost of the required materials themselves, word of their deeds soon spread and have attracted wider support from the community.
Darren’s employer, HMRC, in Waterview Park, Washington, provided £1,000 from its charity fund towards the cost of of a second printer and supplies of acetate to produce the shields.
Fatfield Primary School, where 16-year-old Ben’s sister, Molly, five, is a pupil, has also started donating plastic reels from its own 3D printer to make the bands.
Darren, 39, and Ben have now produced around 500 complete visors.
After initially receiving help from Gateshead Council to distribute them to worthy causes, they are now delivering them direct to a host of organisations needing PPE equipment.
They include paramedics, the Red Cross, people who work with the homeless, a day care centre for people with learning disabilities and carers of people with spinal injuries.
The Village care home, in South Hylton, Sunderland, and Manor Care Home, in Washington, have also benefited with more visors to be distributed soon to staff at charity shops for St Benedict’s Hospice, in Ryhope, in preparation for when they reopen.
Ben decided to begin producing the visors in his spare time after his school, St Robert of Newminster, largely closed down because of the pandemic.
Darren said: “He’s going to study engineering and computer science so hopefully all this effort will be a help when he goes back there for sixth form.”
Fatfield headteacher Tracy Pizl praised the pair and added: “As a school we only played a small part. But I think what the boys are doing is fantastic and it’s good to hear good coming out of this unprecedented situation.”