Lifeline defibrillator for Reedham village hall

A partnership between Reedham Parish Council and Freethorpe First Responders has been successful in

A partnership between Reedham Parish Council and Freethorpe First Responders has been successful in securing the funds to install a defibrillator at Reedham Village Hall.(L TO R) David Breeze, Roger Ditcham, Margaret Ditcham, Lesley George, David Hale and Mary Anne Fermoy.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

Residents in Reedham have been handed a lifeline with the installation of a vital defibrillator at the village hall.

Courtesy of Freethorpe Community First Responder Group, the machine is now in place and ready for use in cardiac emergencies.

It was made possible after some careful fundraising from the first responders, and sponsorship from Humpty Dumpty Brewery.

The first of three defibrillators to be installed around the Freethorpe area and managed by local parish councils.

Margaret Ditcham, co-ordinator for Freethorpe Community First Responders, said the defibrillator could prove essential when her voluteers are not available in a crisis:

'We are here now, but in the years to come the community first responders might not exist,' she said. 'Our members are getting older, but we have been lucky enough to get some new recruits.

'The whole group has been running for about 10 years, and over that period we get donations from all manner of places.

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'We have gradually been building up money to buy new equipment. We decided it would be very nice to put some of the money back into the community. I wanted to arrange it so that the community would be responsible for the upkeep, which is why we got the council involved.' The community responders already manage three defibrillators, but can't afford the upkeep of three more. 'Reedham is very widespread, and could use one for emergencies, and I said to the parish council they would have to install a steel cabinet to house it, and they agreed,' Margaret added. 'This is the first we have set up, but we have two more planned for Halvergate Parish Council and Beighton with Moulton Parish Council. 'We are able to keep maintaining the three defibrillators we already have, but six would be a bit too much, which is why we have asked parish councils to help out.

'If someone has a heart attack we will respond but we are not available 24/7. We are all volunteers, and the chances are when we are not on duty, an incident will happen.

'Out here we are quite rural and a response from Yarmouth would only get here in about 10 minutes - if the Acle Straight is clear. 'Nobody should have a problem using it - the person from the ambulance communications centre will explain the whole process and give out the code to open the box.

'We are also going to arrange for someone to come out and do some training lessons for people so they know exactly what to do.

'It is portable so it can be taken away from the village hall and taken to the person who needs it rather than trying to get them to the hall.'

Reedham Community Council has paid for the installation and taken responsibility for its ongoing maintenance.