Two of the Heartstart Thatcham team made a presentation about the importance of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) at the Hermitage Annual Meeting in 2017. Since then the community and Heartstart Thatcham team have been busy raising funds. The pupils at the local primary school raised an astonishing amount together with a local benefactor this has allowed two AEDs to be placed in the village, one at the school and the other at the White Horse and both units are available 24/7.
This brings the total that the Heartstart Thatcham team have been directly involved with to 54. Scheme co-ordinator, Dr Nick Young, was invited to talk to pupils at the school. Nick said, “many of the pupils tried CPR and the AED; many had questions and all were eager to learn about the device and to get one installed for their community.”
Head teacher Peta Collicott said, “I was stunned by and also very proud of the children for the amount of money they raised from their sponsored walk for the defibrillator; which was just over £3000. One pupil’s family (Bill’s) raised an impressive £500 alone. The presentation by Nick to the pupils really inspired the children to raise the money and do something special and important for the village community.”
The second unit was installed at the White Horse Public House with the aid of the landlord Graham Marrs and local resident Matthew Bryne. This unit was placed in memory of local resident Michael Early for which Matthew said, “We saw the opportunity to mark the passing of a much loved family member, who lived in hermitage his whole life. We thought it would be fitting to donate the defibrillator in his memory, to the village he loved so much.”
The Heartstart Thatcham team would like to see at least one defibrillator in each community and every school. Scheme Coordinator, Nick Young, said,
“when cardiac arrest strikes the sooner CPR is started and a defibrillator is at the scene the better the chance of survival. But also this is something that can happen to anyone, anytime and at any age, it simply does not discriminate, and we want to protect the whole community and to see a community such as Hermitage where EVERYONE comes together to make this happen is truly inspirational.”
The team urge everyone to learn where their nearest defibrillator is but also would like to remind people in a medical emergency dial 999 and ensure professional help is on the way. There is good coverage for the village and although training is not required to use the AEDs the team will remove your fear of using one. The Heartstart Thatcham team will be delivering a training course in Hermitage in July.