Long-standing friends of UNTHA will know that when he’s not working on our clients’ shredders, popular senior service engineer Ben Styles is just as likely to be found playing music.
A self-taught guitarist who learned to play in 1990, he went on to form a Beatles tribute band – Tragical History Tour – in 2008. He’s even been on stage at the Liverpool Philharmonic!
Fast forward to last year, and he, his partner and two other friends formed a collective known as SLAM (Selby Live Arts and Music). Together, they decided that rather than simply hosting open mic nights, they would rent a space, invite local people along, and supply drinks and snacks. From the very beginning people were encouraged to make a donation, and 100% of the proceeds have been donated to various local charities ever since.
However, when news of the COVID-19 pandemic first broke and the nation’s PPE shortage began to hit the headlines, their attentions turned to how they could support the national effort to battle the virus.
That’s why the last £1,000 in the coffers was used to set up a 3D printing operation manufacturing face masks to protect key workers in local care homes, pharmacies and schools.
“Of course we can only do this on a conservative scale,” explained Ben. “We’ve currently got four printers up and running, so are able to produce and deliver approximately 70 face guards per week.
“But we’d read so much about regular members of the public using their time and technologies to help during this crisis, so we wanted to get involved too.
“I’d love to be doing more, but I’m lucky to still be working full time so I can’t take any credit really! Hopefully every little helps though, and if we’ve managed to keep even a handful of people safer – while they do everything they can to protect us – then it’s worth it!”
Inspired and impressed by SLAM’s efforts, UNTHA UK has also dug deep and gifted the foursome a further £400 to buy additional materials and boost their manufacturing capacity.
Commenting on the donation, UNTHA UK’s managing director Marcus Brew said: “I think we’ve all felt extremely uplifted by the lengths ordinary people have gone to, to maintain our spirits – never mind our safety – during this horrendous pandemic.
“When we learned that Ben and his friends had set up this 3D printing operation, we knew we had to help!”
Ben concluded: “It was definitely a wonderful surprise when Marcus pledged to help us with the £400. The national effort is surely something we will all look back on and remember with pride, in these otherwise sobering times.”
To support the team’s 3D printing efforts and help more key workers, please donate here.