Cambridge cadet produces thousands PPE masks

More than 3,000 protective face masks have been provided to hospitals, care homes and emergency services across the UK thanks to Naval cadet Georgiana Altham.

The 20-year-old from Bottisham is one member of a group of a dozen volunteers in the Cambridge area determined to help those in the front-line struggle against Covid-19 by producing masks on a series of 3D printers.

Ordinarily, the engineering undergraduate, who serves with Southampton University Royal Naval Unit, would be preparing for a summer deployment around North-West Europe in patrol ship HMS Blazer, which gives students a taste of life in the Senior Service.

Georgiana is committed to the national effort to fight the coronavirus, producing around 30 masks every day after responding to an initial plea on Facebook for help from anyone with a 3D printer to make parts for the PPE masks.

Through fundraising, she’s bought five more and been loaned a couple extra, so that now she has eight such printers running 18 hours a day, seven days a week, churning out face shield frames.

“I know many people who work in the hospitals – including my mother – and I really wanted to help protect them after hearing about the global shortage of PPE. If doctors and nurses don’t get the PPE that they need, Covid-19 will spread quicker than ever and we will be forever in debt to them for the heroic work that they are doing!” Georgiana said.

The design for the masks is available free on the internet – all the student needed was the plastic filament to produce the parts… and additional printers to meet the immense demand. Both were forthcoming through a GoFundMe page Georgiana set up which has so far brought in nearly £3,000.

“I have been surprised how generous people are and how much they have wanted to help. We have had donations of filament, people offering to disinfect with alcohol and make up packages,” she added.

“It’s been really hard work, but I feel so proud that what I am doing is having such a positive effect.”

You can help Georgiana produce even more masks by donating through her GoFundMe page.