A dad’s efforts to make face shields for front line workers has been given a welcome boost.

For six weeks Stockton Riverside College lecturer, Simon Patterson, has dedicated endless hours of his time to creating the masks from his home in Eaglescliffe.

With each face shield taking over an hour to print it was proving a long slog for the 3D printing enthusiast.

But thanks to kind hearted supporters stepping in to help with donations to buy a second printer and a third donated from a local ICT-based company, he has been able to double and now treble his efforts.

“The support has been unbelievable,” said Simon. “I didn’t expect this to become what it is now.” 

Having responded to a national call for those with 3D printers to lend a hand by creating protective face shields, as previously reported, the computing lecturer stepped up.

First helping to top up supplies for staff at the University Hospital of North Tees he extended the offer on Facebook and the requests came flooding in.

A Go Fund Me page enabled him to increase his efforts and he was astounded when Stokesley-based, Tyrus Limited, got in touch with the offer to pay for a third printer.

Managing Director, Pat Cook, said: “I had been reading about the shortage of face shields in the NHS and was thinking if there was anything I could do. When I heard about what Simon was doing I felt I was in a position to help.

“We all have an obligation to do what we can. Simon is the one putting all the time and effort into doing something amazing. I was just glad to be able to play a small part.”

The sourcing and funding of a third printer meant the funds raised could be used to pay for further materials. Simon said: “I am so thankful to have had the third printer donated as printing day and night we are going through a lot and this has enabled us to buy more of what’s needed.”

With a production line constantly on the go at home, and getting up several times a night to reset the printers, he admits it can be a bit of a juggling act, especially alongside the day job and family life. But it is receiving thank you notes and pictures of health workers wearing the masks that reminds him why he is doing it.

He said: “I can sometimes feel a little embarrassed as people are being so kind and yet I am just a guy at home printing masks. There’s people out there working on the front line. I have a brother who is a doctor and chatting to him certainly puts things into perspective.”

Having made more than 850 face shields, despite the broken sleep, the hard work and the constant juggling, Simon remains an enthusiast.

He said: “The college bought the 3D printer as an enrichment activity for our students, so that they could learn about the set-up and configuration. It has turned into something quite different.

“I am a bit of a geek when it comes to technology. This has been a massive learning curve for me. I’m looking forward to sharing what I have learnt with my students when we get back into the classroom.”

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