A DEFIBRILLATOR, which was stolen from Chieveley village hall has now been replaced, thanks to a donation from the Berkshire Freemasons.
The Chieveley community was outraged in July when thieves removed the potentially life-saving equipment from its cabinet on an external wall of the village hall. The defibrillator had been installed just three months earlier.
When it was eventually recovered, it was damaged beyond repair as it had been thrown into a field of corn and was not discovered until the field was harvested.
Hearing that the theft had deprived the village of the valuable asset, the Berkshire Freemasons have now provided a new defibrillator which will be housed in a vandal-proof cabinet.
The chairman of Chieveley Recreation Centre, Sir Thomas Boyd-Carpenter, said: “I would like to thank the Berkshire Freemasons for their extremely generous donation.
“It seemed inconceivable that anyone would carry out such an irresponsible action, and it was enormously encouraging to learn the Freemasons were able to so thoughtfully step into the breach.”
Prompt use of a defibrillator in a medical emergency can greatly improve a patient’s chance of survival, especially in rural areas where ambulance response times can be longer than in urban areas.
The Deputy Provincial Grand Master of the Berkshire Freemasons, Anthony Howlett-Bolton, said: “Freemasons have a good track record of providing defibrillators at masonic centres across the country.
“It therefore seemed a fitting response, as a part of our aim to make a difference in the local community, to support the village after such a callous theft.”
The original defibrillator had cost the centre £2,500 and was joint-funded by the village hall and the Newbury and District Dog Training Society, which had instigated the project.