Budding young scientists at Castleside Primary School have been kitted out with mini lab coats courtesy of Consett-based international chemical manufacturer Thomas Swan & Co. Ltd.

John MacKenzie, Thomas Swan’s Regulatory Affairs Manager, visited the school on the outskirts of Consett on the final day of the Spring term to present 50 lab coats to the delighted pupils.

The generous donation strengthened close links between the school and the globally renowned chemical firm that were forged by educational visits to the Thomas Swan factory before the Covid 19 pandemic.
Mrs Andrea Lightley, Castleside Primary School’s Science Lead, wrote to Mr MacKenzie seeking a donation towards the cost of lab coats and was overjoyed when he arranged to provide 50 of them free of charge.

“John arranged visits to the company for us pre-Covid and he spoke to Harry Swan, the company’s Chief Executive Officer, who was delighted to donate 50 lab coats to us,” said Mrs Lightley.

“On top of this, they made sure that our school badge was embroidered on to the coats with the words, ‘Castleside Primary School Scientist.’ The coats are exact replicas of the ones that the scientists wear at Thomas Swan.”

Mr MacKenzie said: “Like his father before him, Harry is a keen supporter of education and had no hesitation in providing the funds to buy the lab coats. Thomas Swan helped establish the Centre for Industry Education Collaboration
based in York. Harry is a committed supporter of the CIEC, which provides a lot of resources for schools in the region.”

“I hope the children at Castleside have a great time doing science and I hope that they make good scientists for the future.”

Castleside Primary School Head Teacher Alison Spence said: “We are extremely grateful for the kind donation. These lab coats will help the children feel like real scientists during their lessons.”

“We have some budding chemists within school. Thomas Swan needs to keep their eyes out for future recruits!”

Mrs Lightley added: “We’re delighted that we are going to be able to recommence our visits to Thomas Swan post-Covid. It will tie into aspects of our science curriculum, such as ‘States of Matter’ and ‘Reversible and Irreversible Changes.’

“Thomas Swan are going to liaise with us to tailor the workshops they provide around our curriculum needs.”

Thomas Swan & Co. Ltd., was established in Consett in 1926, has offices in the United States and China. It produces over 100 performance and speciality chemicals – including graphene – which are used by companies all over the world to improve performance in products including inks and paints, tyres and rubbers and personal and household items.

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