Ottery duo launch campaign for life-saving defibrillators

Simon Harris (pictured with his son Noah) has launched a campaign to raise funds for defibrillators

Simon Harris (pictured with his son Noah) has launched a campaign to raise funds for defibrillators in Ottery - Credit: Archant

‘It’s a no-brainer’ - stark statistics prompt pair to take the initiative and start fundraising bid

An Ottery couple are appealing for support in funding equipment for the community that can ‘mean the difference between life and death’.

Simon and Hazel Harris, of Butts Road, launched a campaign this week to raise the £3,000 needed to buy two public access defibrillators that could save lives of people in the town.

When someone has a cardiac arrest, every minute without resuscitation can reduce their chance of survival by up to ten percent - says The British Heart Foundation (BHF).

Father-of-three Simon was faced with this stark fact when he attended a recent first aid training course and decided to take the initiative to fund the equipment that dramatically improves chances of survival.


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Simon - an Ottery youth football coach - said: “Both my wife and I come from a medical family. I went on a recent first aid course and defibrillators came up. We went on to discussing different locations and I was reminded that in a rural area like Ottery, it could take a while for an ambulance to get to us.

“If we do not have a defibrillator in town, it could end up with someone passing away because the chance of someone surviving cardiac arrest without the aid of a defibrillator is five per cent and with the aid of a defibrillator it goes up to 70 per cent.

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“I thought if everybody just contributed a bit, we could get one, or ideally two for the town. It worries me that if someone does go down with heart failure or loses consciousness in an accident and needs CPR, they need something like this quickly.

“We just want to get the ball rolling because there is no good sitting on it and hoping for the best. Hazel and I took it upon ourselves to do something about it.

“I was shown the importance of how much difference it can make – it’s an absolute no-brainer. A town like Ottery that is 15 to 20 minutes from Exeter, it could take a long time to get to the person in need. In this age of technology, there is no excuse.”

The pair are aiming to raise £3,000 to cover the cost of two defibrillators and vandal-proof storage boxes.

June Davison, a BHF senior cardiac nurse, said: “Early intervention with CPR and defibrillation can mean the difference between life and death. That’s why the BHF wants to create a nation of lifesavers by making sure everyone knows how to perform lifesaving CPR in an emergency and making sure defibrillators are readily available in communities.”

Although final locations and details are yet to be decided on, Simon and Hazel are urging the community to get behind their campaign and donate by visiting: www.gofundme.com/otterydefib

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