Defibrillator campaign kicks-off at Burntwood school

Thursday 16th July 2015 – 3pm– Jamie Arrowsmith.

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A campaign aimed at saving lives kicked off with the installation of an automated external defibrillator (AED) at a Burntwood school on Tuesday.

The device, which was unveiled at Erasmus Darwin Academy in Burntwood, has been funded by the David Betteridge Community Defibrillator Charity and is poignantly located following a traumatic incident in 2013.

During a six-a-side football match at the school in September 2013, Mr Betteridge suffered a cardiac arrest moments after scoring a goal. Thankfully, he has since gone on to make a full recovery after receiving CPR at the scene from friends.

In an ironic twist, he also made his return to six-a-side football on Monday night, just hours before the defibrillator was unveiled.

As Mr Betteridge continued his recovery, his wife Debbie and sister-in-law Sarah Page came up with the idea of raising enough money to install an AED at the school and the charity was born.

Far from blowing the final whistle on their campaign, the charity has already raised enough money to purchase three more defibrillators, which will be placed throughout Rugeley, with another four for the Cannock area in the pipeline.

Speaking at the launch of the defibrillator, Mrs Betteridge said: “We are thrilled and proud to have raised the money to see our first defibrillator put in place.

“Obviously we hope it never needs to be used, but it is something that will benefit the school and local community and may just end up saving a life.

“What happened to David was a frightening experience for us all but thankfully he survived, even without an AED being in place.

“When we were told how an AED increases the chance of survival for someone suffering a cardiac arrest, we knew how important it was to try and install as many as possible in the local area.”

Mr Betteridge, who was unable to attend the launch due to work commitments, said: “It is a special day for the Charity to unveil its first defibrillator and I would like to thank everyone who has contributed for their donations and continued support.”

West Midlands Ambulance Service (WMAS) has supported the charity throughout and will offer training on how to use the AEDs to all locations that have one installed.

WMAS Community Response Manager Matt Heward, said: “We are pleased to have teamed up with the charity and the work they are doing is fantastic.

“We will provide training so that people are ready to start vital life-saving care whilst we are on the way, as in cardiac arrest cases, for every minute CPR is delayed the chances of a patient surviving rapidly decreases.”

Erasmus Darwin Principal, Bernice Astling, said: “We are delighted to support the work of the David Betteridge Community Defibrillator Charity and we were honoured to host the opening ceremony on the Academy site.

“Our students gained a great deal from listening to the information shared by our guests. The users of our sports facilities will be reassured to know that the defibrillator exists at Erasmus Darwin Academy, should it be required.”

For more information about the charity, or if you would like to join in with the fund-raising, email


Notes to Editors:

Picture caption – (From the left) John Holford (Committee Member), Matt Heward (WMAS Community Response Manager), Alyssia Roberts (Committee Member), Debbie Betteridge (Secretary), Jacob Betteridge (David’s son). Not pictured – David Betteridge (Treasurer) and Sarah Page (Chair). Please credit West Midlands Ambulance Service.

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