Lytham optician becomes an agent of shields during coronavirus lockdown

A Fylde coast optician is keeping the eyes protected of the local community even after the doors temporarily closed during lockdown.
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Since the Thompson family from Lytham had to close their doors for routine appointments at Thompson and Hardwick Optometrists, the team has together, with support from Matthew Sugden from Virtual Living Studios, started to make and donate 3D printed face shields for key workers who were in desperate need of personal protective equipment.

They set up a Just Giving page to help fund the production of the PPE and they said the response they have had for donations has been “phenomenal”.

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More than 900 face shields have been supplied to a range of places including Blackpool Victoria Hospital, The Ashley Foundation and Trinity Hospice.

Drew Thompson with some of the faceshields he has 3D printedDrew Thompson with some of the faceshields he has 3D printed
Drew Thompson with some of the faceshields he has 3D printed

The team are currently processing requests from Fylde Council, Century Healthcare, Fylde Domiciliary Adult Services, Salford Royal Hospital and Blackburn Hospice.

The effort has been a 24/7 not for profit operation for both families with each face shield costing around £1 to produce.

Drew Thompson from the Park Street optician said: “I bought a printer a year ago to start designing and printing my own eyewear.

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"After we decided to close the practice I brought the printer home to work on that. Then I was sat thinking about how to design eyewear and suddenly thought I could make PPE and it would be much more useful at the moment.

Drew Thompson of Thompson and Hardwick LythamDrew Thompson of Thompson and Hardwick Lytham
Drew Thompson of Thompson and Hardwick Lytham

“I also work at Blackpool Victoria Hospital in Ophthalmology so contacted them to see if they needed or wanted any and they jumped at the chance. I started making them about six weeks ago.

“I’ve tried to prioritise those most at risk like the care homes, but shopkeepers and individuals have been given them too. Coun Brenda Blackshaw has been a real help and managed to contact a lot of vulnerable people who we have also delivered to.

"We’re going to be delivering in Blackpool to Care Homes this weekend. I think it’s close to 1,000 delivered and donated now.”

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If anyone is in need of faceshields they can contact Drew, Matthew and the team at the Thompson and Hardwickj Facebook page or telephone Thompson & Hardwick Opticians on 01253 794522.. To donate visit