'Gift of life' to Sid Valley community thanks to combined efforts

PUBLISHED: 09:09 02 December 2015 | UPDATED: 09:09 02 December 2015

Lions Club of Sidmouth president Ian Skinner presents a cheque for £1,050 to Sidmouth Town Council chairman Jeff Turner  Ref shs 7578-48-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Lions Club of Sidmouth president Ian Skinner presents a cheque for £1,050 to Sidmouth Town Council chairman Jeff Turner Ref shs 7578-48-15SH. Picture: Simon Horn

Archant

People in Sidmouth now have 24-hour access to vital life-saving equipment - thanks to tireless efforts of community representatives.

Defibrillators can mean the difference between life and death in the event of a cardiac arrest and concern about the lack of accessible units prompted a campaign to fund one for the town.

Town and district councillor David Barratt, alongside Lions Club of Sidmouth member Phil Lee, led the project and a defibrillator in Market Place has officially been declared ready for use.

A second unit, at Sidmouth Cricket, Tennis & Croquet Club, in Fortfield Terrace, was provided thanks to a personal fundraising mission of Lee Sowden after his father-in-law survived a heart attack.

Councillor Barratt said: “The provision of these defibrillators will, at some stage, literally save someone’s life.

“Even though we had several defibrillators in the area, I was concerned that they were not available 24-hours-a-day and that’s what triggered this whole process. This is just a first step in a plan to have these machines available across the whole of the Sid Valley.”

He thanked paramedic Adam Davis for his support and training.

Lions club president Ian Skinner said members were proud to contribute £1,050 towards costs of the unit on the market building - which is owned by East Devon District Council (EDDC).

The defibrillator at the cricket and tennis club was initiated and overseen by member Elizabeth Peace. The town council provided the heated storage box.

EDDC chairman Cllr Stuart Hughes, said: “This gift to the town could very well prove to be the gift of life as every second counts when dealing with someone having a heart attack.”

Each unit is stored in a box, which can only be unlocked once someone has dialed 999. The emergency operator will give the key code to allow immediate access to the defibrillator. A series of training courses, open to the public, will take place early in the new year.

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