Prime Minister says there is ‘nothing more heart-breaking than losing a child’ as he backs Norwich mum’s campaign for defibrillators in schools

Leigh Smith, who is campaigning for defibrillators to be put into schools. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Leigh Smith, who is campaigning for defibrillators to be put into schools. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2014

The Prime Minister has backed a Norwich mum's campaign to install defibrillators in every school, saying there is 'nothing more heart-breaking than losing a child.'

Beatrice Octavia Iris Smith.

Beatrice Octavia Iris Smith. - Credit: Archant

Leigh Smith has been passionate about the issue of cardiac disease awareness in children and the lack of defibrillators in schools since losing her baby daughter Beatrice to a rare heart condition a year ago.

The 33-year-old, who lives in Warwick Street, successfully nominated her local school, Recreation Road Infant School, to receive one of national charity Hand on Heart's defibrillators, but wants to see every school equipped with the life-saving device.

Norwich South MP Simon Wright used the final Prime Minister's Questions of this Parliament to call for defibrillators and life-saving training in all schools, after being contacted by his constituent Mrs Smith.

Speaking at PMQs, Mr Wright asked David Cameron: 'Thirteen months ago, my constituent Leigh Smith tragically lost her three-month-old baby, Beatrice, due to a rare heart condition. In an effort to help other families avoid the grief and despair of losing a child, Mrs Smith wants all schools to install defibrillators and to teach lifesaving skills. Will the Prime Minister get behind this vital cause?'

In response the Prime Minister said: 'First of all let me say to my Honourable Friend and his constituent, there is nothing more heart-breaking than losing a child, and everything we can do to help with this we should.

'The Chancellor announced in his Budget £1m for defibrillators, including putting defibrillators into schools. I want to see a situation where community buildings, schools, pubs, village halls, all of them have defibrillators. Because we can save lives in this way, and particularly when we are saving such young lives, as in his constituent's case, we must do better.'


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Mr Wright added: 'Mrs Smith has been incredibly brave to speak out about her family's experiences. I wanted to raise her case with the Prime Minster to encourage further steps to reduce childhood deaths caused by heart failure.

'I am pleased that the Prime Minister acknowledged how important it is to do everything possible, including widening provision of defibrillators in the centre of local communities.

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'We also need to see vital life-saving training to be provided in all schools. Children need to know from a young age what to do in an emergency.'

Do you have a story about someone who was saved by a defibrillator? Call reporter Kim Briscoe on 01603 772474.

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