A person holds up face shields while standing in front of a garden fence.
David Gardner created 3,000 units of PPE for NHS workers during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.

A first-year student has been awarded two Edge Hill scholarships after creating PPE for NHS staff. 

David Gardner, from Moss Side in Manchester, decided to help when he saw peers working for the NHS with little or no Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) as the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic swept the country. 

A person smiles at the camera.

In the last few months before he began studying at Edge Hill University, David and his housemates used 3D printers, part-funded by GoFundMe donations, to create about 3,000 face shields and ear guards, helping healthcare professionals from the Scottish Highlands to Canterbury. 

Now his actions have been rewarded with an Excellence Scholarship for volunteering and citizenship and the Adam Bell Scholarship for his dedication and compassion to others, both worth up to £2,000. 

The 29-year-old, who is studying BSc (Hons) Plant Science, said: “It’s pretty cracking news to be honest. I wasn’t sure how I’d do so to win two: happy days.” 

When asked what drove David to volunteer, he said: “I just think if you can help, you should. 

“This was a great opportunity to proactively help out, especially at such a crucial time, at the beginning of the pandemic when there was a real shortage of PPE.” 

Determined to get the most out of his time at Edge Hill University, David has continued to help others by signing up for faculty and class representative roles within Biosciences. 

“This has seen me taking student issues forward to board meetings, always being mindful of everybody’s thoughts and opinions where possible.” 

David has shown dedication to his own personal development by participating in a variety of initiatives set up by the Careers team and acted as an advocate for students with Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD). 

“I just wanted to put myself out there. The more you sign up for the more likely you are to succeed. 

“I’ve got dyspraxia so that can make things a bit harder sometimes but I just like to keep motivated and get involved. And if I can do something worthwhile for others that’s even better.” 

Katherine McKinnon, employment adviser in Edge Hill’s Careers team, said David’s success was “very much deserved”. 

“He has shown amazing resilience during this year and has a positive attitude which enthuses other students. 

“He has made a significant contribution to the wider community during the pandemic which is very commendable indeed and he is a shining example to other students who have additional needs on what they too can achieve.” 

Edge Hill University offers a wide programme of scholarships for prospective and current students to celebrate determination, commitment and achievement in a variety of areas including academic excellence, overcoming adversity, and helping and inspiring others. 

Biology and Biosciences at Edge Hill prepares students for a range of roles where a real impact can be made. With academics making discoveries in biomedical science, ecology, taxonomy and microbiology, students will be immersed in a rich research environment. Opportunities include writing lab reports to creating educational web pages, curating museum collections to field trips.