The Heartstart Thatcham team arrived at St George’s Church (Wash Common, Newbury) on 3rd July 2017 to deliver a training session to a group of 17 people from the local community. The session showed not only the recovery position but also CPR and use of a defibrillator. The session saw everyone trying CPR and a defibrillator and removing their fear of ever having to perform these actions.
Few at the start of the session said they would perform CPR and fewer would use a defibrillator. At the end of the evening all went away knowing and willing to do CPR and use a defibrillator. Scheme Coordinator, Nick Young, said, “being able to perform CPR and use a defibrillator is only half the battle, the other half is removing their fear.” Using these gives a cardiac arrest casualty the best possible chance of survival.
The session was notable for two reasons. Firstly the team officially unveiled the defibrillator placed at St George’s Church. The defibrillator was placed after the church approached the team earlier in the year. Working with the church the team were able to help raise additional funds with the help of Karen West who undertook the London Marathon. Karen said “I saw a defibrillator used in real life and I know that they save lives, so when I managed to get a ballot place for London Marathon I knew about Heartstart Thatcham and the defibrillators they are installing in the local area I wanted to help raise money for a fantastic cause.” The team presented Karen with two books on CPR and defibrillators. The team have been involved with placing 43 units to date and will be hitting 47 by the end of July with more already being discussed and ordered.
The second reason the evening was notable was the fact that it saw us pass 1000 people trained, in fact it brought the total that have been trained and passed the course to 1006 people. The Scheme director for Heartstart Thatcham and Paramedic (SCAS), David Hamer, said, “This is an amazing milestone for the team to reach. Over the last few years Nick and the team have worked tirelessly to train members of the public in basic life support and install defibrillators across the West Berkshire region. I’m extremely grateful for the hard work these volunteers have put in and hope the skills they teach may at some point save a life. ”
The team, Heartstart Thatcham, held their first public training session in August 2013 and that the first public defibrillator placed by the team was at Henwick in October 2014. Nick said, “firstly ignore the Thatcham in our name we seem to cover a lot of West Berkshire and beyond but also keep in mind that the team are 100% volunteers. I have a dedicated, hard working and enthusiastic team that make Heartstart Thatcham the success it has become today.”
The team have put in 1000s of hours of work, ran in excess of 80 courses, done countless fundraising activities and spoken to thousands through local events and talks to community groups and schools. The skills taught have been used and the team is helping to save lives.
Photo: Left to right - Dr Nick Young (Heartstart Thatcham Scheme Coordinator), Robin Clugston (St George's Church), Karen West (London Marathon Runner).