‘Overwhelmed’ by life-saving appeal success

MP Andrew Selous with Community First Responders Stephen Bennett and Donna Young     MPLO PNL-140630-125723001
MP Andrew Selous with Community First Responders Stephen Bennett and Donna Young MPLO PNL-140630-125723001

A partnership group is celebrating the installation of five community public access defibrillators across Leighton-Linslade.

The town council, Leighton-Linslade First Responders, the Rotary Club of Leighton-Linslade, LB First, Central Beds Council, Beds Fire Service and the Community Heartbeat Trust, have been working together since June to raise funds to provide the lifesaving pieces of equipment.

As part of the project funding was also received from the Bedfordshire and Luton Community Foundation and Albert Inwards of Leighton Buzzard.

Five units have been purchased and installed across the town at the library, West Street multi-storey car park, The Post Office, Mentmore Pavilion and Astral Park

Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) happens around 140,000 times a year in the UK, making it one of the largest killers. The first few minutes of a cardiac arrest are absolutely crucial so having this life-saving equipment available while the ambulance is en-route, gives the patient the best possible chance of survival.

Stephen Bennett, the founder of the Leighton-Linslade First Responders, first approached the town council at the beginning of 2014 with a dream of raising funds to purchase and install one defibrillator.

He said: “I am overwhelmed by the success of this project and the generosity of the community and organisations in the area. The partnership has worked really hard and it’s fantastic that Leighton Buzzard is now a safer place to live, work and play.”

Gennaro Borelli, chairman of LB First, added: “This is a fantastic achievement, not only by LB First, but also by all the other organisations involved, who have worked together for the benefit of the town to provide these life saving machines. A huge and sincere thanks to those who donated their spare cash and gave up their time for this exceptional cause.”

The most important element of the project is the involvement of the local community in understanding how the units work, and what they need to do if they ever need to use one of the defibrillators.

If you’d like to find out more and get involved, Leighton-Linslade First Responders and Leighton-Linslade Town Council will be arranging a community awareness training session at Mentmore Pavilion on May 13 (7pm-9pm) for all those interested in finding out more about how the defibrillator works.

The session is free to the public however you must register your place (maximum 50 people) by visiting www.leightonlinslade-tc.gov.uk or contact Jo Martindale on 01525 631911.

The session will answer all of the questions asked most frequently by members of the public, including what happens if someone uses the defibrillator on someone who later dies. More FAQ’s are detailed on the CHT website http://www.communityheartbeat.org.uk/faq.php

To celebrate the installation the partnership will be holding an information day and unveiling at 11am on April 11 in Leighton town centre. You can register for the May 13 training event at the launch event too.