AN award winning brewery near Chester has been able to make much needed hand sanitiser for local health care workers after their call for help was answered.

Frontline NHS staff had approached Weetwood Ales and Distillery about producing the all important product during the coronavirus outbreak, but the team had been struggling to source a key ingredient.

But the University of Chester’s Thornton Science Park has now stepped in, with staff from the Faculty of Science and Engineering donating all its remaining stocks (15.6 litres) of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2) to the brewery based in Kelsall.

Director of Weetwood Ales, Phil McLaughlin, said: “We were more than happy to help our local community in providing such a vital resource.

"Ethanol (alcohol) is a key ingredient in the World Health Organisation’s recommended formula for hand sanitiser and is a substance which we are obviously used to working with.

"While ethanol is the main component, we also needed hydrogen peroxide, which we were struggling to source. That’s when we approached the University of Chester on the off chance that they had any stock in their laboratories. We were thrilled at how quickly they responded and of course the donation they were able to make.”

A dedicated university technical team worked remotely via skype, email and phone to advise and ensure the right formula was produced.

Dr James Nicholson and Gareth Davies, laboratory managers from the University’s Thornton Science Park campus ensured all safety measures were adhered to, and that the hydrogen peroxide was collected safely with the necessary safety documentation, while also adhering to social distancing.

Professor Garfield Southall, dean of the Faculty of Science and Engineering, said: “We were delighted to help out Weetwood Ales & Distillery. This is a fantastic example of how local people are coming together to use their skills to help others at this difficult time. Our dedicated teams have worked quickly and selflessly to ensure this project was delivered safely and promptly.”

Thanks to the University handing over its entire supply of the chemical, Weetwood Ales & Distillery is now successfully producing the hand sanitiser which is being distributed locally free of charge.