Students in Pendle who witnessed a member of staff suffering a heart attack have raised £1,900 to fund three life-saving defibrillators with support from the British Heart Foundation.
Last November, Mr Michael Downing suffered a heart attack at the Pendle Vale Campus in Nelson, which is the home of both Pendle Vale College and Pendle Community High School and College.
Mr Downing (64) was supervising the lunchtime break when he collapsed. Despite efforts to revive him, by both school staff and the North West Ambulance Service, Mr Downing sadly did not survive.
As a result, pupils at the two schools on the campus raised the cash in a variety of ways. Along with a contribution from the BHF, this has funded the three life-saving defibrillators.
Over 80 students and members of staff have undergone extensive training and will now be able to access the life-saving equipment should someone suffer a cardiac arrest on the premises.
A defibrillator - or AED as it is correctly known - is a portable machine that can restart the heart by delivering a controlled electric shock through the chest wall. When someone has a cardiac arrest, defibrillation needs to be prompt. Research shows that applying a controlled shock within five minutes of collapse improves chances of recovery - early defibrillation can keep a patient alive while waiting for emergency services to arrive.
Pendle Vale College Mr Steve Wilson said: “The tragic death of Michael, a parent, member of staff and governor at the college, hit our close-knit community very hard. Despite the tremendous efforts of first aid by trained staff, Michael eventually lost his fight.
“The purchase of these defibrillators, through the efforts and generosity of staff and students, will not bring our valued and loved colleague and friend back, but may help us save individuals in the future.”
The BHF seeks to provide defibrillators in areas where large amounts of people pass through or gather, as well as targeting areas where there is a high incidence of cardiac arrest.
Teacher Mr Malcolm Linford has made it his mission to ensure staff and students are trained in CPR and he has also volunteered to become a community first responder in Craven, where he lives.
Malcolm said: “Following the tragedy, we felt it appropriate to raise the money for the AEDs. Our fund-raising was tremendously successful and I’m delighted that they are now on site. We were able to also fund an AED training unit, which we hope will be of use not only to our schools but also other schools in Lancashire.”
Barbara Dunn, BHF fund-raising manager in Lancashire, said: “We are delighted the college has raised enough money to help fund these defibrillators but it is sad that it is in such tragic circumstances. So many people suffer cardiac arrests around the UK every year. Their chances of survival dwindle with every minute that passes before emergency services arrive. Having more defibrillators available locally for these emergencies is crucial to saving more lives.”
To support the British Heart Foundation, contact Barbara on 01772 641870 or email email@example.com