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Inventing to help the NHS

From night shift supervisor to inventor: a Vaultex employee is using his 3D printer to make visors for frontline key workers, whilst under a 12 week lockdown.

David Hargrave is one of the 1.5 million people in England to have been identified at high risk of severe illness if they were to contract coronavirus. After suffering scarring to his lungs from a chip pan fire as a child, he has Bronchiectasis – meaning there is permanent airway enlargement of parts of his lung.

Shortly before Christmas he developed Pseudomonas, a bacterial infection of the lungs that meant he was left breathless from completing even simple activities, such as climbing the stairs.

Only just returning to work after a lengthy break, the pandemic provided another setback that forced him to stay at home. His restrictions are even more inhibiting than most of us are experiencing, too; with the advice to remain indoors and avoid all external contact for 12 weeks.

However, he decided to put this time indoors to good use. A fan of gadgets, he invested in a 3D printer and decided to experiment by making visors for frontline staff.

“I wanted to help heroes in my local community by supplying free visors for them, and it’s just gone manic,” said David.

“I already had the 3D printer, but it hadn’t been used for nearly a year. So I fired it up and it’s been running up-to 14 hours a day since!”

So far, he has provided an incredible 255 visors to organisations and individuals, funding the project entirely himself. Those that have benefited from his creation include: hospitals, doctors’ surgeries, community nurses, care home staff, a private ambulance service and shop checkout staff.

“I have also supplied extra laminates to allow the people to change them round. Because of the materials I use, it means the visors can be washed in warm soapy water and reused as much as they’re needed,” he explains.

His generosity hasn’t stopped there, either.

To date he has raised over £450 (via a combination of cash donations and his Go Fund Me page) for a local charity that supports cancer patients, as their cash donations are down at this time. The funds are being spent on buying food – thanks to the help of his daughter – which the charity will then pack and distribute to the people they support.

“I was lucky to have community nurses look after me when I was ill. So whilst I’m not at work in the centre, the situation became the perfect, ideal opportunity to help our frontline heroes and feel like I’m giving something back to the community.”

You can contribute to David’s efforts HERE.