Five years old!

The Heartstart Thatcham team celebrated their 5th birthday recently. The public were invited to join the celebrations along with those that had attended courses, helped place defibrillators and supported us.

Heartstart Thatcham was established in 2013 to teach Emergency Life Support (ELS) skills, skills that include CPR and how to use a defibrillator.

Heartstart Thatcham was formed in May 2013 with the first public training event taking place in August 2013. The team consists of a paramedic from SCAS along with a number of local volunteers, mostly first aiders and teachers and all are volunteers. Thatcham Mayor, Cllr Jan Cover, talked to those gathers and noted:

During the last 5 years the Heartstart Thatcham team have delivered over 120 training sessions training over 1,500 people. These have been to the public, in schools, to cubs, scouts and guides, to various organisations, and many more. These have covered a wide area, most of West Berkshire.

Scheme Coordinator, Nick Young, noted:

The success has come from the dedication of the team and the help and support of the community. I would like to thank everyone who has supported us. Most will know the instructors and trustees Dan, Naomi, Kim, Margaret, Mick, Emma, David who do a vital job but there are many more behind the scenes that have, and continue, to support us including Pam, Marie, Paul, not to mention those who have, or are fundraising for us.

The team have dozens of people supporting them behind the scenes. Three that have been helping since before we even became official in 2013 were officially thanked. All three have been at almost every fundraising event, regardless of weather conditions, if they have colds, other commitments or other issues. They never ask for anything in return, but always ask “when is the next event.” They not only helped us at Thatcham Fun Day just a week ago but have been working hard to get ready for today. Two also help us to maintain the equipment, clean the mannequins, check defibrillators, and more. In recognition of their dedication, on behalf of Heartstart Thatcham,the Thatcham Mayor presented these three with Heartstart Thatcham certificates.

The skills the team teach have been used, with some having the confidence to dial 999, others placing casualties in the recovery position and some having used CPR on casualties in cardiac arrest.

In 2014 the team started to place defibrillators with the aim of putting 4 around sites in Thatcham. The team have now placed 59 units throughout West Berkshire and beyond. The team think these should be as common as fire extinguishers and smoke alarms. The scheme coordinator said:

Whilst we teach people how to use a defibrillator, you do not actually need training and it is more about removing the fear people have of using the device. The more devices there are, the easy they are to access and thus potentially more lives can be saved.

Mr Paul Dick, Kennet School, attended the event and ask what was in store for the future. The team are dedicated to continuing training and helping to place more defibrillators. However one main goal is to see defibrillators in every school building and the skills taught in every secondary school.