Lifesaving kit on the way

Leighton Linslade First Responders
Leighton Linslade First Responders

Long-standing plans to bring lifesaving defibrillators to the heart of Leighton are close to fruition, with funding for the project now secured.

Leighton Linslade First Responders are now ready to move forward after completing a successful fundraising campaign, which will allow them to purchase three units.

Despite a £1,500 price tag, Leighton Linslade Rotary Club has stepped in to fund the purchase of one unit, while another will be bought through funds from Central Beds Council, following a successful bid from the town council.

The First Responders’ own fundraising efforts at the canal festival, town carnival and Edlesborough Carnival, among other events, will pay for a third unit.

Exact locations for each defibrillator are still being worked out by the group, but the intention is to place one at each side of High Street and another at Astral Park.

It is hoped that the equipment will be ready for use either in November or December.

Future plans are also in place to purchase a fourth unit for Linslade, to be located close to Tiddenfoot Leisure Centre.

Leighton Linslade First Responders founder Stephen Bennett told LBO that the developments were “exciting”.

He said: “This is more than we could have ever dreamt of, the support has been brilliant from residents, businesses and local groups.

“The Rotary Club have been fantastic and we couldn’t have done this without them.

“LB First have also been great, through them we have got about 30 charity tins around Leighton.

“We’re hoping that this could give us a bit extra for the future maintainance of the defibrillators.

“All of this has made me very proud to live in Leighton Buzzard.”

Mr Bennett added that final locations for the three units are still under consideration.

He said: “We’re confirming where to put them as we don’t want to place them too close together.

“All will be convenient and there for public access.

“Two will go into the centre of town and another will go to Astral Park as it is a high risk area with all of the sport held there.”

East of England Ambulance Service community partnership training officer, Simon Marshall, paid tribute to Mr Bennett’s work on the project.

He said: “Stephen Bennett has been working very hard over the last few months to support his local community and has shown great dedication and determination to raise both money and the profile of the community first responder group he co-ordinates in Leighton Buzzard.

“If you are interested in joining the scheme then please email bedfordshireresponder@eastamb.nhs.uk or telephone 01767 600822.”