CHILDREN at Spurcroft School are becoming future life savers after a defibrillator was officially installed at the school this week.
The Spurcroft Road school raised money for the device last year, including £796.40 from a school disco organised by the parent teacher association.
A defibrillator is used to shock the heart of a person in cardiac arrest and start it fibrillating again.
Pupils have been learning about the life-saving devices from Heartstart Thatcham, which showed them life-support skills, including cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
They also saw the defibrillator in action, which the youngsters took no time to master.
Headteacher Nathan Butler-Broad said the school was delighted to have worked with the charity and was lucky to have had its support.
He said that the device would benefit the whole community and that the life-support skills had provided an important learning experience for pupils.
“I think they picked it up more quickly than the adults,” he said, adding that more staff were to be trained on the equipment.
Heartstart Thatcham has been raising funds to install the devices around Newbury and Thatcham, including the Frank Hutchings Community Hall and the Parkway shopping centre.
Scheme director at Heartstart Thatcham, Nick Young, said: “Many think that it is just the elderly and/or unfit at risk, but the truth is anyone can suffer a cardiac arrest.
“There are 12 young people a week who die as a result of a cardiac arrest, some of whom might have been saved if there had been an automated external defibrillator.
“Thus, we would like to see every school and nursery have an AED.
“This protects not only the staff, but pupils and the surrounding population.
“We are continuing to work with the school and will train as many staff as possible on how to use the device.”
Heartstart Thatcham topped up the school’s funds and the device was installed before Christmas.
The charity has been working with nurseries and schools across West Berkshire, including Thatcham Park, Park House, Kennet, Tigers Nursery and St Joseph’s.
It has also installed a defibrillator in and the Acland Memorial Hall, Cold Ash.
The Spurcroft defibrillator has been registered with the South Central Ambulance Service, meaning that local people and businesses will be able to access it in times of emergency.