Call for more community defibrillators as Cawston gets its new life-saving machine

MP Keith Simpson, front right, with the newly fitted defibrillator at Cawston Village Hall. With him

MP Keith Simpson, front right, with the newly fitted defibrillator at Cawston Village Hall. With him are, organiser Richard Madel, front left, and Martin Fagan, secreatry for Community Heartbeat. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: Archant 2013

A rallying call has gone out to plug gaps in the coverage of life-saving heart defibrillators across Norfolk.

A yellow box on the outside of Cawston village hall has signalled the arrival of another of the emergency machines.

But a charity behind getting them installed in rural locations across the country is looking to encourage more communities to follow suit.

'If every village had one it has the potential to save a lot of lives,' said Martin Render of the Community Heartbeat Trust.

'With the best will in the world ambulances cannot reach rural communities in the 'golden five minute' period,' he added.

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There were cases of lives - of all ages - being saved, including a 13-year-old boy who collapsed playing football but was within 30m of a defibrillator, and another village whose machine was put to use a day after it was installed.

While the trust encouraged local people to train to use them, the machines could be used by anyone. Training was about building confidence to have a go, and to give people general life-saving skills.

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The charity which began with a defibrillator in Holt about four yeas ago had soared ahead to have 600 across the UK.

Their cause had been boosted by the public awareness provided by the high profile story of young footballer Patrice Muamba, said Mr Render. The Bolton player was given several defibrillator shocks as he was revived after spending 78 minutes effectively 'dead.'

The machines cost about £1,700, and Cawston's was paid for through grants from the village's Cawston Heath and Oaks Memorial trust along with anonymous donors.

Parish councillor Richard Madle said the defibrillator was at the village hall because it was highly-visible and close to sports pitches.

With him at the official launch were Broadland MP Keith Simpson and Martin Fagan, secretary of the Community Heartbeat Trust.

'If one person is saved by our defibrillator it has all have been worth it,' said Mr Madle.

A spokesman for the East of England Ambulance Service said: 'Defibrillators give anyone and everyone the power to save a life and having one close-by is the key in ensuring that as many lives as possible are saved. Anyone who calls 999 will be guided to their nearest public defibrillator and no training is needed to use them.'

During cardiac arrest the chance of survival decreased by 23pc every minute. It was vital that medical treatment starts as soon as possible. The UK Resuscitation Council suggested an automatic emergency defibrillator should be available wherever medical treatment was more than five minutes away.

People could also make a difference by becoming volunteer community first responders by calling 01954 712400 (9am-5pm), or 01603 481220.

For information about the Community Heartbeat Trust visit or call 0845 86 277 39.

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