A MARLBOROUGH school teacher is at the forefront of the bid to get more protective masks to front line NHS staff.

Gary England a design and technology teacher at St John’s School, Marlborough is co-ordinating the production of items to support the NHS during the Covid-19 crisis.

He became involved after a friend who is a manager in the anaesthetics, critical care and intensive therapy departments at the Royal United Hospital, Bath, told of him they were in desperate need.

Mr England said: “I saw a design online by the company who make two of our 3D printers, Prusa, and how others across the world are making the face masks that include a 3D printed top and bottom section along with a clear face screen and some elastic.

“I ordered the clear materials and elastic online and I am now manufacturing them at home having taken one of the printers home.”

He warns that the elastic is only single use and has to be replaced as it can harbour the virus.

Geoff Brickell from Marlborough Area Development Trust is also supporting the project. He gave the 3D printers to St John’s and runs its digital makers club.

He is producing 3D printed parts at home too and then Mr England collects them and assembles.

The prototype face shields are being reviewed at the hospital but the Mr England is continuing to produce the masks while he waits to hear back.

School staff are also helping to produce pull-string bags for NHS staff so they can place their clothes inside and then put everything in the washing machine in a bid to stop germs spreading.

A need for these was identified in Manchester and now volunteers from the school’s design and technology departments at both St John’s and John O’Gaunt, Hungerford are starting production.

St John’s has appealed for help to find more supplied of 0.5mm clear plastic that are A4 or larger or on rolls.