Old Millfieldians use network to help fight coronavirus

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Old Millfieldians (OMs) across the UK have been working within their industries to help educate the public, create vital personal protective equipment and spread some joy with Easter eggs for key workers during the outbreak.

OM Sarah Jarvis (1971-75 MPS/1975-79; Warner) MBE, has been appearing on multiple news and radio channels including BBC, ITV and Channel 5 to inform the public about Covid-19 from a health care professionals perspective. She has been talking mainly about social distancing measures, and how important it is to take these measures seriously to save lives. Sarah has over 30 years’ experience in the NHS, and over 26 years as a GP.

OM Edward Chudleigh (1993-1996; Shapwick), pilot and founder of Foldall Face Shields, has designed and created over 30,000 pieces of personal protective equipment which are now being used by members of the NHS. Edward recognised an urgent need for PPE to be made quickly to protect the frontline NHS staff, so set about inventing the first batch of face shields in his lab with printed 3D components. He oversees product development to ensure the design meets the needs of healthcare workers before they are sent to the NHS.

OM brothers Alasdair (1997-2002; Day) and Duncan Garnsworthy (1995-2000; Day), who run The Chocolate Society, have been doing their bit to give back to the NHS front line staff by creating an Easter Eggathon. They spent 24 hours making as many Easter Eggs as they could to donate to NHS staff over the Easter weekend. Alasdair and Duncan also raised £3,000 for the charity 'Help Them Help Us' which has been set up to provide support to the NHS front line staff during the Covid19 pandemic. OM Joshua Casey Smith (1992-97 MPS/1997-2002; Day) helped the brothers liaise with the charity and put together a video at the end. In total, they made and donated 1,826 Easter Eggs!

OM Jack Dickens (2006-09; MPS/2009-14; Shapwick), journalist for Reaction, appeared on TalkRADIO to discuss his research into German responses to Covid-19 testing, and how Britain compared. "In the British biotech sector you have an ideas economy. It’s based on making innovative research and then selling the licenses worldwide. What Germany's biotech sector does is it actually makes a lot of these raw materials." Jack has written multiple informative articles on the topic to help the public understand the virus in more depth.

OM Ed Jackson (2002-07; Walton), the inspirational quadriplegic former rugby player who suffered a major spinal injury in 2017, will be climbing Everest on his staircase to raise money for the Forever Friends Appeal for the Royal University Hospital in Bath and Wings for Life. The task amounts to 2,783 flights up and 2,783 down the stairs - 5,566 in total.

OM Sam Foulkes (1999-2003; MPS/ 2003-08; Etonhurst) has been helping to support his community during the Covid19 outbreak. Sam, who lives in the state of Ohio, has taken time off work to volunteer at a local food pantry Monday-Friday. He is spending his weeks helping to prepare and distribute household staples, hygiene items, and fresh fruit and vegetables. 

OM Andrew Foster, CBE (1965-67; MPS/1967-73; Glaston Tor) has been repurposed from being Managing Director of the NHS Leadership Academy, to managing the campaign to bring retired and other staff into the NHS. So far 10,000 retired doctors, nurses and other clinicians have agreed to come out of retirement and have been allocated to various NHS Trusts. There are 2,400 final year medical students and 22,000 final year nursing students who are all starting work earlier than usual.

OM and British Envision Virgin Racing Driver, Sam Bird (2003-05; Kingweston), has raised over £35,000 for the NHS. Sam organised a team of over 50 racing drivers to take part in a sponsored run, which took place on the 18 April. Each driver ran 13.1 miles in their local area.

OM Nick Williams (1965-66; Walton) has assembled a team to manufacture face shields for use in the healthcare sector and for others on the front line. In just a few days, the team turned an existing staff gym into a 3D print room with 50 3D printers, and have since produced thousands of face shields for sectors in need of PPE protection. The team are looking to manufacture up to 200,000 protective face visors within six weeks.

In Uganda, OM and Managing Director of Kakira Sugar, Mayur Madhvani (1964-67; Hollies) has recently launched a new product of Kakira Klean (80% Alcohol based) hand sanitiser, developed to support the response towards the Covid-19 pandemic. They have donated around 5,300 litres of Kakira Klean to help communities and key workers during the outbreak.

Head of Alumni at Millfield School, Nicola Pender, says “It has been inspirational to hear about all the ways that OMs have supported others during the Covid-19 crisis. I’m sure that you will know of many more examples and we would love for you to share them with us. Not only will this encourage other OMs but also students, parents, teachers – the whole Millfield Community. Thank you and please stay in touch”.

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