TWO ex-army friends have supplied personal protective equipment to more than 250 businesses after launching their own enterprise last year.

Nightingale PPE was set up in Romsey by Dave Mac and Aidan Cooper, who met in the army reserves and served together in Afghanistan.

The pair said they had sourced PPE in bulk for their existing businesses and when they realised how much companies were inflating prices, they decided to sell their leftover stock. Their separate businesses were eventually put on hold because of the pandemic.

Aidan Cooper, who comes from Southampton, said: “We were disgusted by the price that protective products had soared to, and even more so by those profiteering from the coronavirus pandemic.

“We decided it was time to bring the prices down and make PPE affordable and readily available.

“We found that people were inflating PPE prices significantly. We sell a visor for 99p but have seen other companies selling the same item for five times the price.

“Hand sanitiser was one of the worst culprits, in some cases costing £165 for five litres. We sell the same amount for £19.99, which shows how much can be saved from shopping smartly.

“Operating out of established locations in Romsey, Hampshire and Manchester, Nightingale PPE has propelled into the market, making multiple same-day deliveries to local residents and businesses.

“When we first launched the business, we relied heavily on word of mouth. We now have a website, sell a wide range of PPE products and have hired two employees.

“We’re also selling UK-made masks, which have been incredibly popular.”

The business has supplied the NHS, premiership football clubs, schools and colleges.

Dave Mac, from Manchester, credits the army for giving the pair the resilience they needed to be successful.

“Being in the army instils a strong work ethic and ensures that you take each day as it comes,” he said.

“Running a business based on good ethics and helping others is incredibly important to us both. We also use UK suppliers to ensure we are creating jobs and putting money back into the British economy.”