A WEYMOUTH shop has donated 50 foot pumps to help with dentistry in Malawi.

Howleys Toy Store donated the devices, most commonly used to pump up inflatable toys, to charity Dentaid.

The foot pumps form a part of the manual aspirator box which sucks blood and saliva from a patient’s mouth after dental work such as tooth extractions and fillings.

The aspirator system functions using just solar power.

Tony Mullins, from Portland, is an engineer for charity Dentaid, and devised the unique procedure which will benefit an estimated 3,000 children who have never received any form of dental care before.

Mr Mullins said: “Not many people realise that more people die from tooth decay than Aids, so the work we do is vital and to have the support of resources from Howleys is fantastic.” Dentaid’s mission is to help people in disadvantaged communities to achieve healthy teeth and gums by accessing appropriate and sustainable oral health care services in their community. Currently there are only three qualified dentists in the entire country of Malawi and Dentaid hopes to train 60. Ian Moore, from Howleys, said he was immediately intrigued by the unusual charity request and felt inspired to help.

He said: “Sometimes selling toys to children every day makes you forget that there are others in the third world that wouldn’t understand the true purpose of a foot pump and would get excitement from the simplest things we take for granted – like dental hygiene. “It is sad, but I am happy we can make a difference.”