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Harry Potter special effects experts launch lockdown shop

PUBLISHED: 16:46 06 July 2020 | UPDATED: 08:33 07 July 2020

Flames systems designed by Luminous at the 2018 FA Cup at Wembley Stadium  Picture: THE FA

Flames systems designed by Luminous at the 2018 FA Cup at Wembley Stadium Picture: THE FA

The FA/Colin Rhodes, Senior Event Manager at Wembley Stadium

A special effects company which supplies the ‘wow’ factor at top musical and sporting events has opened a personal protective equipment (PPE) shop in Bungay to support local people and businesses.

Some staff outside Luminous's warehouse in Exeter, including Edwin Samkin's business partner Mike Badley left of centre who runs the operation there  Picture: SHANE HOOPERSome staff outside Luminous's warehouse in Exeter, including Edwin Samkin's business partner Mike Badley left of centre who runs the operation there Picture: SHANE HOOPER

Special effects technical director Edwin Samkins, a founder of Luminous, said they decided to diversify when the live events industry went into lockdown during the coronavirus crisis.

“As the live events industry is on hold our diversification has been vital for our survival and so far it’s been successful,” he said.

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Although the Luminous factory is in Exeter, Mr Samkins is based in Suffolk, where he has remained for the last four months. He decided to set up Hand Cleaner in response to the .

“Hand Cleaner now supplies NHS hospitals and historic royal palace sites like Kensington Palace and The Tower of London.”

The company has partnered with Transam Trucking – a major player in the entertainment industry – to deliver the PPE items.

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“Luminous usually supply complex special effects hardware systems to global stage productions like Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and touring music shows such as Sir Paul McCartney,” said Edwin.

“It started as a call to arms from the UK government, requesting British manufacturers to step up and fill the void during the PPE shortage which has evolved far beyond our initial expectations.

“We found a curious parallel between entertainment and healthcare as within our usual business sector, the show must go on, no matter what challenges are thrown in your way.

“It transpires this is exactly the same in the medical industry. For example, we got a request from an NHS trust to produce 6000 bottles of sanitiser as quickly as possible and our team were able to fill, label, pack and deliver within 36 hours, which was two days earlier than expected.”

By April, Luminous had designed and produced a Conformité Européenne (CE) certified professional face visor. Using the same ingredients as it uses to fuel its stage flame projectors, it also created a World Health Organisation (WHO) standard hand sanitiser.

It has now launched ‘back to work’ PPE packs, to help ensure safe workspaces.

Normally, Luminous would be travelling all around the world to put on theatrical live displays.


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