6th May 2020 — A quarantined staff member at Roedean turned the famous Brighton girls’ school into an all-blue tribute to Britain’s key workers as part of the Thursday night NHS clap.
The school, which stands empty as its pupils study remotely from all over the world, was lit in stunning NHS blue, with a rainbow coloured heart emblazoned across the clock tower bearing the words ‘Thank you NHS’. Theatre manager Joe Wailes masterminded the lighting up of the facade. But he has also been busy working out other ways to show the school’s appreciation to those who lay their lives on the line in the fight against the coronavirus.
Mr Wailes has spent most evenings sawing face visors out of plastic sheeting he found in the school theatre’s props department – he has now made 500 which have been sent to the Royal Sussex and various GP and dental practices. The school has also managed to gather together from across the site a further 2,500 pieces of PPE such as disposable gloves, disposable aprons, safety goggles and surgical face masks from the science and health centre.
He said: “I made the visors in the evening to pass the time because I know there is such a need right now for PPE. We had about 50 sheets of plastic and using a handsaw to cut the model and then an electric saw to make all the rest, I managed to make 500. Each one took about 15 minutes. There is a collection point at Hove Town Hall so I took them there and I believe they are going to be used for porters and other non-medical staff at the hospital.”
The school has also set up an NHS Giving scheme in which staff can voluntarily donate a small percentage of their monthly salary to the local NHS Trust, with the senior leadership team donating 5%.
The school’s radios have been donated to the ICU unit and it has also lent its buses for the transportation of NHS staff. The fridges and freezers across the school are also now being used to store food collected by local food bank.
Roedean headmaster Oliver Blond, who is also quarantined within the school complex, has offered up the school’s boarding houses to NHS workers needing accommodation.
He said: “It goes without saying that we as a school must do everything in our power to help those fighting this virus. Our offer to accommodate NHS workers is there. And as for Joe - his efforts reflect the fantastic approach that so many people across the country are taking right now to help with PPE. The school looked amazing all lit in blue and we hope NHS workers who see it know how very much we appreciate what they are doing for the country.”