By Thom Morris
Hundreds of face shields for frontline NHS staff have been produced by enterprising KCC worker.
Kent Highways’ Design Engineer Dean Barkley, from Margate, started making face shields only a couple of weeks ago.
The father-of-four said: “One of my daughters saw a story about Ramsgate resident Phil Hathaway, and other 3D printing enthusiasts around the world, making them and she suggested I could put my printer to some good use.
“I mentioned the venture to my friends, and they responded by buying printers and joined the quest too. I now have three printers which I’ve called Huey, Dewey and Louie.
“My mate Steve White has two, Chris White and David Wharlley have a printer each and Troy is taking the requests and makes deliveries. Recently work colleague Ian Grigor has joined in with us, making the team now 10 printers strong.”
“The vast majority of our shields are going into local hospitals, but some have gone to local doctor surgeries and a batch were even sent to Norwich for NHS staff.”
Dean (pictured)and his friends, who work on their project up to 18 hours a day, have made more than 1000 shields.
Around 500 have been delivered to QEQM Hospital in Margate and all the wards have now been furnished with them, including 60 porters and 50 domestic staff.
Dean added: “Our original GoFundMe target of £1,500 was met within three days. Our requests continue to roll in and we have now increased our target to £5,000 to cover ongoing material costs to supply face shields to another local hospital, GP surgeries, care homes and other keyworkers in the continuing battle against this pandemic.”
KCC Schemes Project Manager Christopher Koningen has also been producing face shields and has now been asked to produce ventilator parts.
He said: “The lady on the right of the photo (main image), one of the London Gold Commanders, is a good friend and neighbour of mine, and when she told me how things were in her London hospitals I just felt I had to do something.
“Dean inspired me to use my skills as a bit of a geek to make some PPE. Seeing the staff at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital and what they are going through was truly humbling and made me realise even more what an incredible job they are doing to literally save lives whilst putting their own in danger.”
KCC Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport Michael Payne said: “I’m extremely proud of what Dean, Chris and their friends are doing for our key healthcare workers.
“In these times it really is inspirational to see people pulling together to help each other out as well as the fantastic the support from the public in helping fund the manufacture of these face shields.”