Here's my #YappyNews for February and March - your latest round-up of inspiring, happy and heartwarming news stories from around the world ...
#1: FORD MOTOR CO'S PURPOSE-LED PANDEMIC MISSION
Ford Motor Co., which has been producing face masks, ventilators and face masks ever since the very early days of the #Covid pandemic last March, has now received patent-pending approval to produce clear face masks with low-cost air filters.
The auto giant is aiming to mass-produce these masks, which was make it easier for the deaf and hard of hearing community to communicate.
"When you think about interactions in a work environment, and the people who might be ... relying on lips to read expressions and understand day-to-day work, that becomes a challenge. It literally takes away another sense from somebody," said Ford VP Jim Baumbick.
The company, which has given away tens of millions of masks to date, has announced that the new masks will be washable and feature anti-fog technology.
Read the full story here: Washington Post, 9 February 2021
#2: WAITROSE DITCHES MAGAZINES WITH PLASTIC TOYS
Good news for the planet: Waitrose has confirmed that it will no longer sell children's magazines with plastic disposable toys attached to them. Hoorah!
In a move to help tackle the growing problem of pollution that our world is facing, the retailer has said that it will be removing magazines containing free toys - which have a short lifespan and cannot easily be recycled - over the next eight weeks. But worry not, kids, because Waitrose isn't saying "down with toys"- the retailer is now actively asking publishers to replace "pointless plastic" with #sustainable alternatives.
"Many in the younger generation really care about the planet and are the ones inheriting the problem of plastic pollution," Marija Rompani, partner and director of sustainability and ethics at Waitrose, told the BBC. ""We urge publishers to find alternatives, and other retailers to follow our lead in ending the pointless plastic that comes with children's magazines."
Read the full story here: BBC News, 23 March 2021
#3: 'BIG CAMP OUT' EVENT MARKS A FULL YEAR IN LOCKDOWN
As the UK reflected on one full year since the first national lockdown was announced, an 11-year-old boy from Devon encouraged children around the world to take part in a "big camp-out" event to mark the end of his truly epic fundraising efforts.
Max Woosey has been sleeping in a tent every night since the first coronavirus lockdown. He has been sleeping outside in memory of two family friends who died and and has now raised more than £270,000. "I thought I'd do it for a week or two and then the event led on even further," he said at the start of the first lockdown in March 2020. For 365 consecutive days, he has been camping outside to raise money for the North Devon Hospice which cared for his neighbours.
Max's mum, Rachael Woosey, said that the big camp-out was about children "being in control" and "celebrating what they can do". Over the past year, a host of celebrities, from Bear Grylls to Jonny Wilkinson, have wished Max luck with his outdoor adventure.
Read the full story here: BBC News, 26 March 2021
See? There's plenty of good news still out there, if you look for it. I'll be keeping my flappy ears peeled and will remain close to the ground in my hunt for more #YappyNews to make you smile. If you spot a good one, throw me a bone: I'm @YappyAlfie!