A LOCAL charity has served up another life-saving device in West Berkshire.
Heartstart Thatcham has installed its 51st defibrillator at the entrance to the recently refurbished tennis courts in Victoria Park, Newbury, and it was officially unveiled by the mayor of Newbury, David Fenn, on December 8.
The ‘public access’ defibrillator will be available to use 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
No training is required to use the device and it cannot be misused, as it will deliver a shock to the casualty only if they need it.
The drive for the device came from local resident Caroline Powers, who held a coffee morning in October 2016 in memory of her late partner, Richard Hayes.
She said: “The coffee morning was a big success and I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who came and supported it.”
The money was passed to the Heartstart Thatcham team to fund another defibrillator.
The team has held fundraising events, including a quiz evening at the Old London Apprentice pub, to raise additional funds for the device.
Heartstart Thatcham began seeking locations around Newbury, where devices have been installed in Parkway shopping centre, the Kennet Shopping centre, the railway station and other sites.
Scheme co-ordinator Dr Nick Young explained that one area not being covered was Victoria Park.
He said: “Defibrillators should be as common as fire extinguishers.
“When cardiac arrest strikes, the sooner CPR is started and a defibrillator is at the scene, the better the chance of survival.
“But also this is something that can happen to anyone, it does not discriminate, and we want to protect the whole community.”
Victoria Park is managed by Newbury Town Council.
Council leader Adrian Edwards (Con, Falkland) said: “We were approached by the Heartstart team and were pleased to be able to offer a space for the defibrillator in Victoria Park, which is widely used by residents and visitors.
“With our new facilities in the park, including the refurbished tennis courts, more and more people are visiting and the defibrillator will be in an ideal position should anyone need to use it in an emergency.”
Heartstart Thatcham was recently named community group of the year in West Berkshire Council’s Community Champion awards.