Couple from Down honoured after making thousands of face shields at home

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Press Association
A face shield manufacturer who has been recognised in the British Queen’s Birthday Honours list for turning his home into a production line said he was inundated during the pandemic.

Lloyd Creaney and his wife Ruth, from Hillsborough in Co Down, have received British Empire Medals for their charitable efforts.

The graphic designers began making the clear plastic visors from their home during the shortage of personal protective equipment in spring.

Because they both have underlying health conditions, a group of biker volunteers picked up the completed shields from their doorstep and delivered them across Northern Ireland.

We did not set out to make as many face masks but it just grew. I had the knowledge of how to make them and the demand was there for them

Staff at Craigavon Area Hospital and the liver unit at the Royal Victoria Hospital in Belfast were among those to benefit.

Mr Creaney said: “We were inundated with people looking for them and people we did not know, and getting further afield.

“We started a GoFundMe page to cover the cost of materials.

“I thought if we made one or two hundred pounds that would cover the cost of it.”

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In total they raised around £4,000 (€4,412).

If you had of told me at the beginning of this that I would have six printers running 24/7 making nearly 4,000 shields I would not have believed you.

“That enabled me to buy a few more printers to get as many out, somewhere in the order of 3,500 to 4,000.

“It was unexpected. We did not set out to make as many face masks but it just grew.

“I had the knowledge of how to make them and the demand was there for them.”

Mr Creaney felt it was not right to ask people to pay for the basic personal protective kit they needed.

“Covid-19 has put such strain on our NHS and I applaud all the frontline staff whether that’s nurses, doctors, police, delivery men and anyone who is working hard to keep everything going.”

He added: “If you had of told me at the beginning of this that I would have six printers running 24/7 making nearly 4,000 shields I would not have believed you.

“We just felt like we did our bit, really.”

By May, the volume of shields needed by hospitals had diminished as the NHS’s supply lines improved. The couple also sent their visors to care and nursing homes.

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