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Defibrillator was a life-saver for Lowestoft man

PUBLISHED: 13:00 11 March 2017 | UPDATED: 17:46 11 March 2017

A new defibrillator has been installed on the home of Gill and Stewart Clifford in Carlton Colville. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

A new defibrillator has been installed on the home of Gill and Stewart Clifford in Carlton Colville. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

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Vital, life-saving equipment has been installed on a housing estate – thanks to the generosity of a cardiac arrest survivor and a Norfolk charity.

A new defibrillator has been installed on the home of Gill and Stewart Clifford in Carlton Colville. PHOTO: Nick ButcherA new defibrillator has been installed on the home of Gill and Stewart Clifford in Carlton Colville. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

Stewart Clifford suffered a sudden cardiac arrest at his home in Carlton Colville, Lowestoft just before Christmas. With early defibrillation and CPR provided by the emergency services at the scene, the 66-year-old is now back home.

A couple of months on, Mr Clifford and wife, Gill, have installed the first public defibrillator for their area on the side of their house in Airedale – having funded the life-saving equipment at a cost of almost £1,500 themselves.

Mr Clifford said: “On December 14 I was talking to my wife when I had a cardiac arrest completely out of the blue. I just fell down. Thankfully the fire brigade and paramedics were fairly close and able to turn up with a defibrillator or I wouldn’t be here today.”

Mrs Clifford, 63, said: “The defibrillator saved Stewart’s life. It is so vital. You don’t think anything like this will ever happen to you.”

A new defibrillator has been installed on the home of Gill and Stewart Clifford in Carlton Colville. PHOTO: Nick ButcherA new defibrillator has been installed on the home of Gill and Stewart Clifford in Carlton Colville. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

After being taken to James Paget University Hospital in Gorleston, Mr Clifford was transferred to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. He was in intensive care and it was five weeks before he was allowed home.

“The quick response of the paramedics and firefighters, the defibrillation to get his heart going again saved Stewart’s life,” Mrs Clifford said. “We just can’t thank the paramedics, firefighters, doctors, nurses and the NHS enough – they are wonderful.”

With the couple determined to get a defibrillator for the community, meetings with Mickey Cox, cardiac nurse at the James Paget, led to Mr and Mrs Clifford meeting Jayne Biggs, who set up the Heart 2 Heart Norfolk charity. The Bradwell mother set up Heart 2 Heart after her daughter, Violet, suffered a sudden cardiac arrest when she was just seven. Now, the charity has installed numerous defibrillators in the community.

Mrs Biggs ordered the defibrillator for the Clifford’s, adding: “They totally funded it themselves while their son in law – an electrician – installed it as well.

“It is now on a big housing estate and this is their way of giving something back to the local community, knowing that early defibrillation saves lives.”

TRAINING EVENT TO BE HELD

Jayne Biggs, of the Heart 2 Heart Norfolk charity, and cardiac nurse, Mickey Cox will be holding a free community CPR and defibrillator training evening at the Bloodmoor Hill Community Centre in Carlton Colville on Wednesday, March 22 at 7pm.

Mrs Biggs said: “If anyone would like to come along, please contact me on my Heart 2 Heart Norfolk Facebook page. Lowestoft and surrounding areas don’t have many public defibrillators at all, so getting this in place is brilliant.”

A grateful Mrs Clifford said: “Jayne has been fantastic. She is absolutely dedicated to her charity.

“It has been a tough time but we are really pleased we have done it and the defibrillator has now been installed. A heart attack or cardiac arrest can happen to anyone,” she added.

“Carlton Colville is a very big place now and we want people to know that this defibrillator is for the community.”

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