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Fundraising appeal aims to increase number of community defibrillators available in Long Melford

A fundraising appeal to install community defibrillators throughout Long Melford has been launched, to try to ensure that all village residents are served in the event of an emergency.

Parish council chairman John Nunn and first responder Martin Richards have begun working with village organisations to try to finance additional equipment, to add to the village’s lone defibrillator, located outside the Co-op in Hall Street.

At Thursday’s council meeting, Cllr Nunn explained the appeal had been launched after he was approached by resident Robin Hughes, of Old Court, following a recent public event in Sudbury to raise awareness about the importance of 24/7 defibrillators and how communities can get them installed.

Community defibrillator. Stock image (21626408)
Community defibrillator. Stock image (21626408)

Residents of Old Court have already pledged to finance one device, with the intention of installing it on the wall of the new parish office, where it would be kept charged through the building’s electricity supply, at a minimal additional cost.

Organisations such as the Working Men’s Club, as well as Long Melford Primary School, have also expressed their support for the fundraising appeal.

“To be effective in covering the village, we need several more as, to be of use, they have to be within two minutes of the casualty,” said Cllr Nunn.

“What a lot of people don’t realise is you have to use the defibrillator within two minutes for it to be effective, so having one outside the Co-op is no good to someone down The Maltings, for example.

“What we’re looking at is to raise money for several more. I think it’s quite important.

“We have got phone boxes that are doing absolutely nothing. We actually can get power reconnected to the phone boxes for defibrillators, so that’s something we will be taking forward as well.

“The machines are kept charged by a small trickle feed of electricity. This would be a very small cost, while installation would be funded by the project.

“I have spoken to Amanda Woolmer at the primary school and she said she is 100 per cent behind us.

“We will go around to other organisations to raise money for our project and, hopefully, the more we can get in the village, the better for everybody.”

He added that he would be asking the village doctor’s surgery to relocate its current defibrillator from inside the building to outside at the next meeting of the local patient participation group (PPG).

A similar campaign has been ongoing throughout this year in Sudbury, which has seen a significant increase in the number of defibrillators either installed or committed to since the start of 2019.

Campaigner Andy Read, who survived a cardiac arrest at home last year following the rapid intervention of first responders, says he would like to see 20 defibrillators up and running in Sudbury by the end of 2020.

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