PPE masks made in memory of boss who lost his life to Covid-19

One company making protective equipment for staff who are risking their lives to treat patients with Covid-19 has a special reason for doing so.

TES Europe in Wisbech are making masks in memory of their boss Peter Waterfield, who lost his life to the coronavirus.

When he first developed the symptoms of Covid-19 he asked his business partner Alex to use their company's 3D printers to make equipment for the NHS.

TES Europe in Wisbech are making masks in memory of their boss Peter Waterfield, who lost his life to the coronavirus. Credit: Family picture

"While he was in hospital I would get text messages: how are you getting on with face shields. He was seeing people daily that still had no protection. It doesn't matter what you are doing, if you are part of the fight then you deserve basic protection."

Alex Neal, TES Europe Ltd

And that protection is needed on a massive scale. The Arthur Rank Hospice in Cambridge using three times as much protective equipment as they normally would - 1800 aprons every week.

"At the beginning it was really difficult and frightening and causing a lot of anxiety for our colleagues because we were struggling to get the supplies of what we needed.

Sharon Allen, Chief Executive, Arthur Rank Hospice

In Northamptonshire, the might of British technology is being repurposed. 50 companies within an hour's drive of Silverstone are sourcing and manufacturing items for two local hospitals, 72 GP surgeries and more than 500 care homes.

By-passing national supply lines to work on a local scale

"What we've seen, which is perhaps not unexpected, is a very quick response of people that see a challenge and want to be able to solve it. In motorsport, we are generally problem-solvers, and in motorsport you also have to be ready at the weekend to go racing. So there's been a very quick and rapid response to our request for help."

Kieron Salter, KW Special Projects

But in Rivenhall near Witham in Essex, there's frustration and anger. Stealthmounts Limited says it is not lack of supply but lack of organisation that's preventing front line staff from getting the protection they need. So far their efforts have been funded by donations from the public but the money is about to run out.

"We need the dots to be connected by the government to say yes we do need you to still keep producing them, here's a purchase order for the materials and here's where we'd like you to send them or don't worry, the PPE is coming from whatever source it's coming from, and we've got it covered. We don't know either way."

Mark McDonald, Stealth Mounts

There's been a lot of talk about the Dunkirk spirit during this pandemic. In some ways that's a great analogy. Small companies, large corporations, each launching their own bids to help. Together - a flotilla with a common mission. But what's needed, they say, is the Government to harness that potential