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Norwich PPE project nominated for lockdown hero award

PUBLISHED: 06:15 20 May 2020

Colin Breckons of Frontline Face Shields, wearing a face vizor and holding face shields he has been producing with a 3D printer for carers and keyworkers. With him are some of the volunteers helping him, from left, Richard Herrell, Melissa Keeler, and Trudy and Graham Manning. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Colin Breckons of Frontline Face Shields, wearing a face vizor and holding face shields he has been producing with a 3D printer for carers and keyworkers. With him are some of the volunteers helping him, from left, Richard Herrell, Melissa Keeler, and Trudy and Graham Manning. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2020

A Norwich man who began making protective face shields for frontline staff out of his garden shed is in contention to win a national award.

Beside face shields and vizors, Colin Breckons, has also invented the Save Grabber, for safely opening doors, also  made on his 3D printers for carers and keyworkers. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYBeside face shields and vizors, Colin Breckons, has also invented the Save Grabber, for safely opening doors, also made on his 3D printers for carers and keyworkers. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Colin Breckons, has been short listed among the final three of the Daily Telegraph’s Lockdown Heroes awards for best DIY project.

What began as a project to create 100 face shields from his garden shed has transformed into a 70-strong team of volunteers which has made 17,000 for health and social care organisations across East Anglia.

Upon learning of his nomination, Mr Breckons said it was a community effort, not just him.

The 34-year-old said: “I remember in the beginning I was really struggling, up all hours of the day and night to reset the printers, asking for elastic from people’s sewing boxes and people turning up all times at night to help deliver packages , donate elastic. It’s amazing how big it has become.

Colin Breckons wearing a face shield and holding face vizors he has been producing with a 3D printer for carers and keyworkers. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYColin Breckons wearing a face shield and holding face vizors he has been producing with a 3D printer for carers and keyworkers. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

More: ‘They are on 24 hours a day’ - Norwich man 3D printing PPE for frontline NHS staff

“I have always loved Norwich and the past two months, the past two weeks especially, has really shown me how amazing this place is. All these people that have come out to help, they do not know me and they are putting their all in and they are not getting anything, they are not doing it for any gratitude.

“I have seen the volunteers more than I have seen my family.”

Among recent fundraising efforts for the faceshields is 10-year-old Jayden, who has completed 100 skips per donation, raising £190 so far.

In seven weeks, Frontline Faceshields East Anglia have used 120,000 meters of filament, 200kg of APET plastic sheets and 2,200 meters of elastic to create 17,000 masks.

Colin Breckons wearing a face shield and holding face vizors he has been producing with a 3D printer for carers and keyworkers. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYColin Breckons wearing a face shield and holding face vizors he has been producing with a 3D printer for carers and keyworkers. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

The volunteers have taken on roles including printing, assembling, delivering and managing orders.

More: PPE project that started in man’s shed reaches a staggering 10,000 orders

After weeks of hard work, the father-of-six said the project was starting to wind down and finances running low, a decision has been taken to not ask for any more donations.

He said: “We have slowed down, we are running out of money and people power. I am glad that it has come to this natural ending, it is slowing down to where people do not need it. My worry was we would go out of business and people were saying ‘we need it.’ That did keep me up at night.”

He said the remaining funds and resources could make another 4,000 masks if there was a need. If not, the remaining funds will be donated.

Frontline Face Shields volunteers from left, Paul Cuffley, Richard Bonner, and Paul Robinson, prepping face shields for carers and keyworkers. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYFrontline Face Shields volunteers from left, Paul Cuffley, Richard Bonner, and Paul Robinson, prepping face shields for carers and keyworkers. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Voting is open on the Daily Telegraph’s website with the winner announced on May 29.


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