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Festive fun marks unveiling of life-saving new defibrillator

Posted: Sat, 06 Dec 2014 11:48

Festive fun marks unveiling of life-saving new defibrillator

The defibrillator, which will be available for the local community to use in emergencies, will be unveiled by AFC Andrews, which plays at Aylestone Recreation Ground, on Saffron Lane.

The club has raised funds for a new defibrillator and a special secure metal case, accessed by a code, so that the equipment can be positioned outside and used in an emergency.

To celebrate the installation of the equipment, the club is holding a fund-raising 'Christmas jumper fun run' around the park. The run costs just £1 to enter, and kicks off at 1.30pm on Saturday (6 Dec).

Defibrillators can help save lives if someone collapses with sudden heart failure. Local charity the Joe Humphries Memorial Trust (JHMT), which campaigns to raise awareness of sudden heart deaths, has helped Andrews AFC to raise funds for the defibrillator.

The Trust also provides free training for local sports clubs and schools in cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR), via a free scheme called Joe's Mini HeartStart for Sports. The Trust's community liaison officer and former cardiac nurse Alan Harrison White has trained a number of staff and players from AFC Andrews in vital life-saving skills.

Darren Creed from the club said: "This defibrillator is a potentially vital piece of life-saving equipment, which is why we've worked so hard to get it installed at our training ground.

"Anyone – whether player, club official, spectator or member of the public – who had a cardiac arrest in the vicinity could benefit from this.

'We wanted to raise money for a metal case so that the defibrillator could be positioned outside. If it was in our clubhouse, members of the public wouldn't be able to benefit from it when the clubhouse was closed."

The metal case is accessed by a code, which is given to a person calling 999 in the event of an emergency.

999 call handlers can also advise people on how to perform CPR and use the defibrillator, but local charity the JHMT is also campaigning for more people to learn these vital life-saving skills.

The JHMT was set up in memory of Rothley teenager Joe Humphries, 14, who died in 2012 from sudden arrhythmic death syndrome (SADS).

Chair of JHMT Steve Humphries said: "AFC Andrews' commitment to this vital lifesaving training and equipment really has been second to none. Not only have they trained staff and players in CPR, they've also thought about providing a defibrillator that could be used by the whole community. I think it's reassuring for parents whose kids play here to know that the club takes life-saving so seriously, as they know that quick and effective CPR combined with early use of a defibrillator can double survival rates.''

The club and JHMT helped source funding for the equipment and installation, which overall cost around £2,300.

£500 of funding was provided from Leicester City Council's ward community funds, which provide cash for worthwhile community projects.

The funds were approved by Freemen ward councillors Elly Cutkelvin and Bill Shelton.

Cllr Cutkelvin said: "I'm delighted that we were able to provide ward community funds for this vital piece of equipment. It's an asset to the area, and I'd encourage as many people as possible to learn CPR and ensure they have the skills they need in case of an emergency."

Additional donations towards the costs and installation of the equipment were made by local school Montrose School, in Wigston Lane, Aylestone, and by the JHMT.

Andy Owens, headteacher at Montrose School, said: "We have close links with AFC Andrews and with JHMT and we applaud their commitment to getting defibrillators fitted in this way. In fact, we're already working on getting a defibrillator installed at our school, too.

"Because many of the parents and children at Montrose are familiar with AFC Andrews, we were very pleased to support them. After all, nothing is more important than saving a life."

There will be a 'grand unveiling' of the equipment this Saturday (6 Dec) at 1.30pm at Aylestone Recreation Ground.

Tags: Events, SADS, Joes Mini Heartstart, Defibrillator