Sudbury resident pledges to finance four 24/7 community defibrillators for town in hope of inspiring others to follow suit
A long-time Sudbury resident has pledged to pay for four sets of live-saving equipment for the town, in the hope that others will follow suit for the community’s benefit.
The Free Press reported last week on a new campaign, set up by Ballingdon resident Andy Read and supported by Sudbury mayor Robert Spivey, for the town to have at least 10 community defibrillators available by the end of the year.
Graeme Weir, who has lived in Ballingdon Street since 1971, has now revealed he has been working with Sudbury Town Council to finance four machines in the centre, south, north and east of Sudbury, using his own money.
Having already funded the defibrillator outside the town hall, Mr Weir, pictured, has agreed to pay for a second device in Ballingdon Street, and has inquired about two more, in North Street and Cornard Road, which he hopes will be in place this year.
“I love Sudbury, and I thought I would like to leave a legacy for the town,” he told the Free Press. “I thought the best way to do that would be with these defibrillators.
“It’s not about me, though. I’m coming into it to highlight the need for defibrillators. This is to encourage people and businesses in particular to provide them.
“In this day and age, defibrillators are saving lives all over the place. I’m very happy to pay for four of them, and Mr Read’s target will be halfway there.”
Sudbury’s assistant town clerk Jodie Budd confirmed the new Ballingdon Street defibrillator – paid for by Mr Weir – is expected to be installed outside Ballingdon Valley Indian Cuisine in the near future, after the town council receives the installation cost from the electrician.
The council is inquiring with Babergh’s planning authorities for permission to install another machine outside the Masonic Hall in North Street.
She explained that, in each of these cases, Mr Weir has agreed to finance the defibrillator itself, its installation and the cabinet it will be stored within, while the town council will cover the ongoing electricity costs.
Mr Weir praised the council for continuing to support his efforts.
He added: “I hope this will encourage businesses in Sudbury to start providing defibrillators, because we need quite a few more. They don’t cost the earth.”
At the start of 2019, Sudbury had just two defibrillators accessible to the public – one outside the town hall and another located at the community health centre.
Since then, another machine has been installed in Elizabeth Way, following a fundraising effort by residents of the area.
In addition, local non-profit organisation Gryphon First Aid announced it has sponsored another new defibrillator in Quay Lane, which it confirmed was up and running on Monday.
Mr Read, who launched his campaign for more defibrillators in Sudbury after surviving a cardiac arrest at home last August, told the Free Press the recent momentum behind installing new machines was tremendous news, and could enable his end-of-year target to be achieved.
“This is superb news for Sudbury, and should now see the town having at least 10 public 24/7 defibrillators by the end of this year,” he said.
“I wonder if this can extended to 20, so nearly everyone in Sudbury is within two minutes of a defibrillator.
“We then need to arrange more training, so as many people as possible are confident to use one.”
More by this authorThomas Malina