A West Cumbrian firm is playing a huge role in the fight against Covid-19.

Cockermouth's James Walker, classed as an essential manufacturer, already works with the NHS supply chain to make parts for ventilators and related equipment.

It said it had seen a rise in enquiries for components over to help tackle the fallout from coronavirus.

It has also responded to the Ventilator Challenge UK.

A spokesman said: "Design and manufacture of components for ventilators and oxygen equipment is a priority for James Walker at present, with urgent orders being quickly completed to help the businesses that have taken up the challenge of manufacturing these critical items.

"Within the last three weeks we have been receiving new enquiries to support the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, in addition to the O-rings and diaphragms we manufacture for long-established customers for use in ventilator and oxygen regulator equipment."

James Walker said it was working at almost the same levels as it was prior to the lockdown and added that although it was operating because it was classed as essential, it was doing everything it could to keep its 420-strong staff safe.

It has increased its shift patterns from a five-day working week to a seven-day operation to reduce the number of people on its Gote Road site at any one time.

Prior to the Government's lockdown announcement last week, management had already asked staff to work from home where possible.

The spokesman added: "Additionally, the World Health Organisation’s social distancing measures are strictly observed.

"The company is also providing employees with more flexibility to organise child care arrangements following the closure of schools."

Ed Surman, site director, added: "James Walker’s well-developed incident management and business continuity plans have allowed us to assist staff who are in high risk categories, or in households forced to self-isolate.

"Overall, thanks to the efforts of our staff, our production cells are operating at close to normal levels despite the implementation of all necessary protection measures for those still working on site.

"We continue to closely monitor the wellbeing of all our people, both on site and at home."

It has also helped the local community too, providing and cutting perspex for a screen to be erected to protect staff at pharmacy JWW Allison & Sons on Main Street.

Mr Surman added: "I have been extremely proud of all our team here in the way they are supporting their colleagues, the community and the business through these unprecedented times."

Staff also stopped work last Thursday to take part in the national clap for carers.