THE PRIME Minister has praised the "excellent work" of two Eastleigh schools who have made thousands of pieces of PPE for critical care staff.

Staff at Crestwood School and Wildern School in Eastleigh have been busy during the lockdown despite large numbers of students studying from home, as they have manufactured more than 7,500 pieces of personal protective equipment - including visors, masks, tension bands and scrub bags - as part of a national effort to fight the coronavirus.

After recognising this significant contribution, Eastleigh MP Paul Holmes was "enormously proud" of the two schools and wrote to Boris Johnson in the hope of drawing his attention to the hard work of the volunteers, and now the Prime Minister has said that he is "greatly appreciative" of their efforts.

In a response letter, Boris said: "I would greatly appreciate you relaying my thanks and best wishes to the staff and volunteers of Wildern and Crestwood’s Design & Technology (D&T) departments for producing PPE for our NHS and carers. Their commitment, like so many others across the country, has made a huge difference to those fighting COVID-19 on the frontline.”

The PPE items made at the two schools have been distributed more than 7,500 items to staff at Southampton General Hospital, Fareham Community Hospital, care homes and other facilities such as Mountbatten Hospice.

Krista Dawkins, Headteacher of Crestwood Community School has said that if the school was needed to make PPE again, they would "do it in a heartbeat".

She said: "Crestwood has always been a community spirited school and to be given the opportunity to support our NHS and other care providers, during the pandemic, was a privilege. Alan Haymer, D&T Technician, is always up for a challenge and with the support of Steve White, Alan Hussey and Adrian Hunt managed to produce a staggering 3800 Visors and 3300 tension bands for face masks.

"I am exceptionally proud of everyone involved and for Paul Holmes to highlight our work to the Prime Minister is such an accolade. If we were asked to do it again, we would in a heartbeat"

Ceri Oakley, Headteacher of Wildern School added: "Wildern was extremely pleased to be able to support our colleagues working within care homes and the NHS at this very difficult time; our Design Technology staff very much wanted to support these people and make the PPE required. In total the team made 480 face visors and 50 scrub bags."