Alice and John with two of the masks they made

Here's a copy of an external article describing the fantastic efforts of our DT department creating masks during lockdown.

Wallingford Community Hospital League of Friends charity gets one of their ‘biggest donations’ from a young couple who raised money to make thousands of face shields for the NHS and care homes during the peak of the Covid-19 outbreak and want to give back to their local community.

In a bid to do their bit during the largest health crisis their generation has seen, Design and Technology teacher from Wallingford School Alice Walker, and local Firefighter and Carpenter John Cornelius, worked around the clock during lockdown to fundraise and make thousands of PPE face shields for key workers. They have now donated the remaining money raised to Wallingford Community Hospital League of Friends.

Alice used her skills as a D&T teacher and enlisted the help of her partner John to make the first prototype shield on 13th April: “It all started when my colleague at Wallingford School found a website that had the face shield design and all the details about how they are made and the materials needed. As the software was more my background, I decided to do what I could to make it happen. As soon as we knew this was possible with the school technology, we just knew we had to do it.”

The initiative started at Wallingford School and inspired St Bartholomew’s and Mary Hare Schools in Newbury to join Alice and John in their amazing task of providing the community with reusable face shields. Together, they created an impressive production line and were producing them at the rate of six every nine minutes!

“Running the first prototype was the moment we realised this was possible and it was exciting to know that we could help. The main highlight for me has been getting the thank you emails and pictures from places we have delivered to. It was so heart-warming to know just how much people appreciated it.”

Alice and John set up a Facebook page in mid-April to raise funds to buy materials for the face shields. In just 16 days, it raised £6,000! A chunk of it was used on materials for the face shields sent to local key workers, but then the couple decided to go further and donate the rest of the money (£3,000) to the Wallingford Community Hospital League of Friends charity.

“We wanted the left over donated money to go back to the local community, as it mainly came from local Wallingford people, and this way we could support a great cause close to our hearts and home,” said John.

Paul Chisnall, Secretary for Wallingford Community Hospital League of Friends said: “They did very well and raised an awful lot of money. It’s really positive they’ve made the contribution to us and that patients here are able to get the ongoing care. We’re very thankful.”

staff at Wallingford Community Hospital

Chairman of the charity, Kate Eveleigh added: “It’s been one of our bigger donations; certainly one of the biggest for a long time and we were very glad to receive it.”

An impressive twelve thousand shields were cut in total and five hundred of them were dropped off at Wallingford Community Hospital during the time Alice and Johnny were cutting them over a six-week period.

Ward Manager at Wallingford Community Hospital, Andy Armsby explained: ‘The face shields have all been used now. You have to change them every time you come out of the treatment room and we have to wear and change face masks regularly too so we were very glad of the generous donation and now the extra money can also go towards creating a Reminiscence Café at the hospital as well.’

Plans for the donated money are still in the discussion phase, but talks of a Tranquillity Garden being built at the Community Hospital are popular as an option for a project the money could be spent on. Paul Chisnall said: “I’ve got a meeting to arrange with Oxford Health about how much is needed and how much we and they can put in to it; to make it something really good for the community hospital.”

Thanks poured in from NHS and care home workers who received the donations as Alice admitted it had been a team effort: “From the schools and staff for making and delivering face shields to the community for donating the money, we’re thankful and just even more pleased we can provide a donation that may go towards caring for our community hospital in the future.”

Headteacher at Wallingford School, John Marston said: “We are tremendously proud of Alice and our DT team. For day after day during the height of the pandemic they were in school making the face shields. They didn’t have to do this but they did so because of their desire to support our local community. What they have achieved is remarkable - we are very proud of them and we know that the local community of Wallingford and beyond share our pride and we all wish to express our appreciation for their fantastic work.”