MP throws his support behind a campaign to protect thousands of lives


Friday 31st March 2017 – 2pm – Murray MacGregor.


An MP is throwing his support behind a lifesaving campaign by learning the skills that could make the difference between life and death.

On Friday, Hereford and South Herefordshire MP, Jesse Norman learnt the vital skills of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and just how simple it is to use an automated external defibrillator (AED) when he visited Hereford Ambulance Hub.

It follows a generous donation from the Four Acre Trust which donated £50,000 towards buying additional AEDs for rural areas of Herefordshire and Worcestershire.  To qualify, local communities need to raise half the money and the Four Acre Trust will pay the other half.  Together, it should ensure an additional 100 lifesaving defibrillators placed in communities across the two counties.

Since the scheme was launched in the middle of January, 58 new defibrillators have been installed across Herefordshire and Worcestershire.  Many have been bought by parish councils, but others have gone to rugby clubs, a golf club, community centres, village halls, three pubs, two churches, three schools and even Hereford Livestock Market.

Mr Norman said: “As a local MP I am already very aware of the vital services that our ambulance service provides.  But my training session with Herefordshire Area Manager Nick Montandon really drove home to me what an important role we can all play in saving a life.

“When someone has a cardiac arrest, the heart stops beating and it is vital that the patient gets help immediately.  For every minute after the heart stops, the patient’s chance of survival drops by 10%.  If someone starts CPR on them immediately and a defibrillator is quickly used, up to 90% of patients can be saved.

“Yet without CPR only about 8% of people survive a cardiac arrest. So it is obvious just how important it is that we get more defibrillators out into our rural communities, and that as many of us as possible learn how to do CPR.  I am very grateful to Nick for the lesson – frankly, all MPs should have one.”

WMAS Herefordshire Area Manager, Nick Montandon, said: “Whether you have had training or not, you can make a difference if you know how to perform CPR and know where your nearest defib is.  By increasing their number in the community we give many more people the best possible chance of survival; more lives can be saved.

“I have seen the value of early CPR and having a defib in the community.  There are people who are alive today because there was one nearby.  I would encourage any community that doesn’t already have a defib to take up this generous offer – it could save your life.”

Chair of Trustees for the Four Acre Trust, John Bothamley, said: “We are here to inspire local communities who have been thinking about getting a defibrillator, to get on and do it.  It’s a straight forward process and we’ll provide half of the £1,000 funding needed.  We hope as many communities will take up the offer and we can get the extra 100 defibrillators installed as soon as possible.”

Communities, groups and organisations who want to take up the offer should apply to the Hereford and Worcester Community First Responder (HWCFR) Charity who will arrange for the defib to be placed in a box on the likes of a church wall, school, shop or even pub; anywhere that it can be accessed 24 hours a day.

HWCFR Charity Trustee, Sue Watkins, said: “Not only will we help the community to install the defib, we will work with West Midlands Ambulance Service to train local people in its use.  However, people should remember that you do not need to have had any training to use one.

“There are so many examples of where having a defib in a rural community has made the difference between life and death.  Even in a small village like Peterchurch, their defib has been used three times in the last 18 months.  Whatever the size of the village or town you live in, you can always benefit from having a defib available 24/7.”

Any community or group that would like to take up the offer should contact Sue Watkins via email at

Note to Editors

Please do not substitute ‘heart attack’ for ‘cardiac arrest’ as they are quite different.  A heart attack is a “circulation” problem and sudden cardiac arrest is an “electrical” problem.

A heart attack is when blood flow to the heart is blocked but the heart keeps beating, if only inefficiently.  A cardiac arrest is when the heart malfunctions and suddenly stops beating completely.  In a cardiac arrest, brain damage starts at 6 minutes and at 10 minutes there is nothing that can be done to save a patient.

A defibrillator is used to reset the heart so that it can start beating normally again.

Pictured (l-r) – Hereford and Worcester Community First Responder Charity Trustee, Sue Watkins, Hereford and South Herefordshire MP Jesse Watkins and WMAS Area Manager for Herefordshire, Nick Montandon. If used, please credit the image to West Midlands Ambulance Service.




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