Claire Brown – Thursday 18th July 2019 – 4.25pm.
A primary school and a pub in Coventry are the proud owners of a life-saving defibrillator thanks to the fundraising efforts of their local community.
Hollyfast Primary School in Coundon, Coventry, began a fundraising initiative to purchase a defibrillator for the school in November last year after the parent of one of their pupils suffered a cardiac arrest and sadly died in 2018.
Early into their fundraising, the school decided to contact West Midlands Ambulance Service to find out more about defibrillators. It was during a conversation between the school and the Trust’s Community Response Manager, Bobby Qayum, that the ambulance service offered to donate a defibrillator to further bolster the community’s life-saving potential.
From various fundraising efforts and donations from the local community, the school raised enough money to buy a community defibrillator cabinet to house the donated defibrillator from the Trust. This has now been installed at the front of The White Lion Pub in Allesley and is accessible to the community in an emergency 24 hours a day, seven days a week if required. The school have also purchased their own defibrillator, in a separate venture, which is situated onsite to further bolster life-saving potential within the community.
Liz Hayes-Jones, Head Teacher for Hollyfast Primary School, said: “We are pleased that the fundraising target we set has been successfully completed. This has been achieved through the joint efforts of our community which marks the loss of a parent and friend to Hollyfast, Matt Whitehead, who sadly suffered a cardiac arrest and died whilst out running last summer. A special thank you to all who have helped us achieve this, including Persimmon Homes community donation, neighbouring school Keresley Grange, individual contributions through a marathon sponsorship and other donations, Dave from Brady’s Electricians who completed the defibrillator box installation for free as well as The White Lion Pub (Vintage Inn) who agreed to house the community defibrillator.
“A special thank you, also, to West Midlands Ambulance Service for their very kind donation of the community defibrillator. Our joint efforts have resulted in two life-saving devices being introduced in the Coundon and Allesley areas which we hope will make a difference to someone’s life. We are proud of our joint efforts in making this happen.”
Bobby Qayum, Community Response Manager, said: “When the school contacted me and explained that they wanted a defibrillator in memory of a parent, I felt it was only right that the service donated a defibrillator to the community as well. It’s been a pleasure supporting this local community if either defibrillator helps to save just a life, then it’s money well spent. As an ambulance service we know that the quicker someone in cardiac arrest is given CPR and a defibrillator is used, the better the chances of survival.”
Notes to Editors:
Pictured (outside school): Pupil Ben, the son of Matt Whitehead, holding the defibrillator with Headteacher Liz and Ambulance Community Response Manager Bobby together with school teachers.
Pictured (outside pub): Headteacher Liz (holding sign) and other teachers together with pub representative (right).