AN INSPIRING teacher has taken up a new ‘extra-curricular activity’ in a bid to protect healthcare workers on the frontline of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Paul Thompson, head of design and technology at King Alfred’s Academy in Wantage, used his engineering skills and spare time over Easter to produce protective equipment for the staff at a residential care home.

The Wantage resident transformed a spare room at his home into a makeshift workshop and produced 25 face shields for St Katharine’s House – one for each member of staff.

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Mr Thompson said: “At the rate of two hours per print, it was a fairly noisy and warm few days in our house, but it was great to be able to hand over the face shields to the brilliant staff and carers at St Katharine’s on Ormond Road."

Now, after MacDermid Enthone – a chemical manufacturer on Grove Road, Wantage – donated additional materials to the project, Mr Thompson is able to make hundreds more face shields for other NHS organisations in the area using the 3D laser cutting equipment at King Alfred’s D&T department.

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The teacher added: “One of the things that makes me proud to be a member of staff at King Alfred’s is the academy’s programme of extra-curricular opportunities for our students.

“I have enjoyed my own ‘extra-curricular activities’ over the Easter break making these, and it has been lovely to further strengthen our community link with St Katharine’s, where our students have already been involved as volunteers prior to the outbreak.”

The lack of personal protective equipment not only in Oxfordshire but across the UK has turned into a national concern since the start of the pandemic.

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The World Health Organization warned that shortages are leaving doctors, nurses and other frontline workers dangerously ill-equipped to care for coronavirus patients, due to limited access to supplies.

In response, many residents across Oxfordshire – whether part of large community groups or on their own – have been using their free time in self-isolation to help in the crisis and ‘do their bit’.

GP surgeries, care homes, hospices and even big hospitals like the John Radcliffe have received masks. face shields, laundry bags, scrubs and PPE all produced by community-spirited volunteers.

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Manager of St Katherine’s House Seung Ping Riggs applauded Mr Thompson’s efforts to help the care home.

He said: “The visors are excellent – they help to protect both staff and the residents.

“We are basically wearing them every day.

“The academy has been so supportive to us and we are indeed very grateful.

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“It is great how the community has come together for us.”

Mr Thompson also praised MacDermid Enthone's 'generous' donation to the cause.

The engineering teacher said: “We are extremely grateful to them for stepping up so quickly to supply the additional materials needed to make more face shields.

“The school’s staff thank them very much”.