Express & Star comment: Engineers' ingenuity helping save lives

By Star Comment | Opinions | Published: | Last Updated:

The ingenuity of engineers is helping to save lives.

Entrepreneurialism and innovation has long been a bedrock of the local economy. And as many start to realise both the size of the Covid-19 challenge and the time it will take to emerge from it, creative talents are putting their minds to fixing things.

Covid-19 is a once-in-a-lifetime crisis and in order to save lives people are transferring their skills to different disciplines. So staff at JCB are making ventilators to pump oxygen into clogged lungs. Their normal duties making earth-shifters and diggers have been put on hold. There are more important priorities ahead. In Telford, a company is helping by creating parts that help snorkels transform into ventilators.

The normal rules no longer apply to such innovation. Processes that were once highly controlled and highly regulated are now being fast-tracked so that the nation can put the right resources into the right places at the right time.

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Those whose services are being employed in the fight against the virus find themselves engaged in a colossal national effort to provide appropriate levels of care for those who need it most. Their efforts mirror those of individuals who are doing that they can to improve the lives of others during an unprecedented time of enormous upheaval.

The recent request for NHS volunteers shows how willing we are as a nation to muck in and help.

The smallest minority are ignoring the rules and behaving nefariously. The vast majority continue to do the right thing – and will keep on doing so for as long as it takes.


Invention is the mother of necessity and there will be further challenges ahead. Yet the examples of local businesses provide us with a ray of light. Their quick thinking and ability to adapt provides a lesson for others.

Business is engaged in a Darwinist survival of the fittest and we are fortunate that our region will bring forward success stories. Inventors are saving jobs, saving livelihoods and saving lives.


Theatres have closed, concert halls are shuttered, a return to normality is beyond the horizon. But entertainers are bringing their talents into our homes. And for those who have a decent internet connection, the world is their oyster.


From the comfort of their living room, they can enjoy live performances, virtual sessions in the pub with their mates, the opportunity to watch great plays or films. And the popcorn doesn’t cost £6 per tub when you fetch it from your own cupboard.

The world of entertainment is by its very nature one of the fastest-moving, fleet-footed and nimble of professions. And it has embraced new technology to deliver thrills and spills to front rooms and living rooms across the region.

It’s not just big stars who are delivering such scenes. Local clubs are providing a range of classes online. People can learn to dance, pick up an instrument or participate in sports and the creative arts from their own home. Of course, it’s not the same as doing it live, but it’s the best that we can do. Providing workmen don’t dig through any internet cables, we can sit back, relax and enjoy the show.

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