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Pendle businesses switch production for NHS and key workers

Published: Tuesday, 12th May 2020



“A wide range of fantastic companies in Pendle have switched production to support the NHS in the battle to beat the COVID-19 virus,” said Councillor Iqbal, Leader of Pendle Council.


“We are immensely proud of their efforts and are urging other companies to see if they can help during this crisis,” he added.

“Furloughed employees from Rolls-Royce Barnoldswick are doing an amazing job making and delivering protective visors,” he said. 

The top team of engineers are working at home using 3D printers to create face visor shields for the NHS and other key workers, including care home staff, teachers and postal workers.

Dean Langton, Pendle Council’s Chief Executive said:

“You can help the Rolls-Royce team to buy the 3D printing filament material and acetate sheets to speed up the supply of visors.”

Follow this link to their Just Giving page:

And the engineers have set up their own public Facebook group called NHS Lancashire/Yorkshire 3D Printing.  People can also request visors via this Facebook page, too.

The team is all working remotely on printing, logistics and communication mostly using WhatsApp to manage an effective production operation!

Gemma Dixon is leading on fund raising and communications.  She said:

'Very quickly, this went from a handful of engineers printing using home hobby 3D printers, to a team of 28 people, all volunteering their time.

“The passion within the team is incredible!  The printers have worked all day every day for the last month.

“And the logistics team is delivering visors to the key workers as quickly as possible.

“Due to everyone's kind donations, over 3300 visors to date have been given away free-of-charge, and we have over 20 printers now making visors,” she said.

Paul Bardsley, who has been working on the printing, said:

“If all this time and effort stops one family from saying goodbye to a loved one, it's all worth it.”

Alex Walker, Director of Performance and Delivery for the NHS in East Lancashire said:

“We are incredibly grateful to this group of talented Rolls-Royce engineers for generously donating their time and resources.

“These are challenging times and the NHS, health and care staff across Pennine Lancashire need an inordinate amount of Personal Protective Equipment, so any other donations are welcome.

“East Lancashire businesses who are able to help us in any way — or who know of any organisations who can ‑ please email us at: or call 01282 644623,” he said.

Dean Langton added:

“Companies can donate any spare Personal Protective Equipment such as surgical gloves, protective aprons,  surgical masks and visors via Pendle Council’s web page:

“There is a link at the top of this page to a form on Lancashire County Council’s website to register your offer,” explained Dean Langton.

A growing number of Pendle businesses are sharing their expertise and equipment and more can get involved through the government’s coronavirus business support website:  under the heading How You Can Help. 

Companies can register their offer and the need is wide-ranging, from medical testing equipment, providing sanitiser, manufacturing equipment, engineering or manufacturing expertise, transport for goods and people and warehouse space for medical use or storage during the coronavirus crisis.

Mackintosh in Nelson has risen to the coronavirus challenge and has been making around 2,000 scrubs a week for NHS staff.

Stephen Lees, Production Director said:

“Once the lockdown was in place, we stopped production and contacted our industry network to see if we could help the NHS.

“I was quickly inundated with companies who needed help with supplies and we have been working with a NHS registered company in Lancashire.

“We sourced machinery and threads for the next day and the orders and fabric arrived the day after.

“Within days we changed the factory from a range of different colours of luxury coats to a sea of NHS blue.

“And when our freight brokers heard about the change in production, they offered to ship all NHS products free of charge!

Stephen paid credit to Mackintosh workers at the Nelson factory:

“We have been working flat out and working extra hours.  Production operators and their supervisor asked me to open longer so they can provide more outfits for nurses.

“The team’s attitude has been outstanding!

“One of the team said to me: ‘If we can’t be on the front line then we’ll do what we can to make sure they are protected and help the fight.’”

The NHS company they have been working for is now getting scrubs from its regular supplier again.

So Mackintosh is now switching production back to luxury raincoats, after having clocked up producing a staggering 12,000 scrubs for the NHS.  

And school tie manufacturers, William Turner, also based in Nelson,  visited Mackintosh to look at their operations.

William Turner has now successfully trialled making protective snood masks for the NHS and aims to make 30,000 a week.

John Turner from William Turner said:

“We are very lucky to have the manufacturing space in our new build factory in Nelson to be able to operate in a fully socially distant way.

“Our amazing team did not hesitate to turn their skills to helping the NHS in this time of need.

“We will continue to meet this challenge for as long as our wonderful NHS needs our help,” he added.

Richard Sutton, formerly of Weston Aerospace engineers in Pendle, who established the Sutton Pendle Charitable Trust, has been putting his business know-how and networks into place to help supply local organisations with PPE.

“From social care workers to the NHS, to care homes and GP surgeries, he has supported people  on an enormous scale – making a huge difference in helping to keep key workers, patients and older people safe,” stated Dean Langton.

Explaining how he got involved, Richard Sutton said:

“A month ago when I heard about the shortage of PPE I decided to try and address the problem.

“My aim was to plug the gaps locally to help care homes, hospices and local organisations and businesses keep people safe.

“Then I was approached by the Lancashire Resilience Forum and things scaled up significantly to support organisations across Lancashire and South Cumbria, including the NHS and the social care network.

“We’re now supplying over 30 million PPE items to the Lancashire Resilience Forum and hundreds of thousands of items locally,” he said.

The life-saving kit includes respirators, isolation gowns, visors, surgical masks and gloves, from both local and Chinese manufacturers. 

“If there are any care homes locally who urgently need PPE, please get in touch with me via the Pendle Community Hub which is open seven days a week, telephone 01282 661743 or email:

“I’d like to thank family and friends for giving their time to help” he added.

The Sutton Pendle Charitable Trust supplies items either for free or for a charge simply to cover materials and UK shipping is free.