Lives could be saved thanks to new equipment that’s been installed in a busy shopping street in Bury St Edmunds.
It’s the result of a joint effort from local businesses, fundraising campaigners and the Business Improvement District (BID) organisation Our Bury St Edmunds.
The latest 24-hour public access defibrillator for the town has been installed at the St John’s Centre with the support of Just Traid, a volunteer run fair trade café and shop. It was made possible by Hayley Cook, manager of Just Traid, who joined forces with local fundraisers and the BID to purchase and install the equipment.
Hayley said: “This is something that means a great deal to me as I have lost two close family members to heart attacks. But I was spurred on to get a defibrillator installed after having to call an ambulance for a customer and the 999 operator asked me where the nearest defibrillator was. Knowing that I would have had to run all the way to McDonalds where the closest is situated and back again before starting treatment made me realise how critical it is to have one in St Johns Street.”
Mike Kirkham, from Our Bury St Edmunds, was happy to get involved with the project and worked closely with local campaigner Paul Hicklin who, together with family members, has been instrumental in getting several defibrillators available across the town centre.
Paul said: “This is something I became passionate about following the death of my father and the support I have had from his friends and family members has meant we have been involved in the provision of five defibrillators across Bury St Edmunds. I’m especially grateful to Ken Goodwin and Darren Rolfe who organised a fundraising darts tournament in my father’s memory which has contributed a fantastic £500 to the costs of this defibrillator.”
Thanks to the BID more than 350 people working in businesses within the town centre have now undertaken free first aid training, including the use of defibrillators, in the past three years. Our Bury St Edmunds continues to run 10 such courses a year for its members and currently has places available in March.
Mike commented: “We have worked with Paul on a number of occasions now so when Hayley asked about providing a defibrillator in St Johns Street we had a blueprint to make it happen. I can’t thank Paul and his colleagues at Compleat Office Solutions enough for their significant contribution, as well as Ken and Darren for their support and indeed all the businesses and customers in St Johns Street who gave so generously to Hayley’s appeal and made it a real community effort.
“I have been delighted with the number of businesses taking advantage of our free first aid courses which includes how to use a defibrillator but of course it makes all the difference when one is within easy reach in an emergency.”
Paul added: “It’s wonderful that the BID has helped one of its member businesses to get this defibrillator installed and I’d encourage any business in Bury St Edmunds that hasn’t yet signed up their staff to undergo the free first aid training to do so. The more people who are confident to use a defibrillator and know how to access their nearest one, the better. Someone’s life could one day depend on it.”
For details of future first aid training organised by Our Bury St Edmunds contact Mike Kirkham on 01284 766258.
Pictured above (left to right) Mike Kirkham, Hayley Cook, Darren Rolfe, Paul Hicklin and Ken Goodwin.