Life-saving equipment installed in Holt after linesman’s collapse

Maggie Prior, Bob McQuade and Hazel Rix with the new defibrillator which is located at the Holt Spor

Maggie Prior, Bob McQuade and Hazel Rix with the new defibrillator which is located at the Holt Sports and Social club. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

It could prove the difference between life and death.

And now a councillor has claimed every sports club in Norfolk should have one.

A new defibrillator has been installed at the sports and social club in Holt.

The life-saving equipment, which was made available by national charity the British Heart Foundation for half its normal £2000 price tag, has been fitted outside the entrance to the new pavilion, off Kelling Road, following a year-long fundraising campaign led by Holt Bowls Club.

It can be used to treat cardiac arrest victims at the popular playing fields, which is home to a number of sports clubs, as well as the local community.

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Councillor Maggie Prior, who represents Holt on both the town and district councils and is also chair of the patient group at the local health centre, said: 'We are so pleased to see this because they are very expensive and we're not a fund operated unit so we could only fundraise in the only way anyone else could for one.

'This is a brilliant addition to our quest to get them into the community.'

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When asked whether she thought every sports club should have one, she added: 'I really do. Wherever possible at this reduced price because money is just not available at the original price for these.'

The defibrillator was installed following reports that a match official had collapsed while running the line at a local football match. He recovered after an ambulance was called. But, with the chance of surviving a cardiac arrest decreasing by 23pc every minute, every second counts.

Bowling club member Hazel Rix, who first mooted the idea, said: 'I brought it up at a committee meeting about a year ago and we started fundraising from there. We're quite an elderly club and some of us have got heart problems and I thought we ought to have one.

'I spoke to someone who told me they had a football match here one day and they noticed one of the linesmen wasn't very well. They had to call an ambulance out for him in the end and he had some problems with his heart. Luckily someone was here who knew about first aid and he was okay, but it could have been a different story.'

Holt and Community First Responders, which has helped distribute more than a dozen defibrillators in the community over the last three years, has offered to organise training for anyone interested in finding out more about how to operate them.

Last year, one was installed in a redundant village phone box at Plumstead, near Holt.

Bob McQuade, chairman of Holt Bowls Club, said: 'This is the first time we've had a defibrillator because one of our members suggested that because most of us are getting on in years it might be an idea. But then we decided it might as well be outside the sports centre, and available to other people, rather than locked in our hut during our off-peak season or when we are not here. I hope we'll never need it but it's there as insurance.'

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