The life-saving defibrillator being installed in the old red telephone box in the High Street should be in place by the end of the month. Work on refurbishing the phone box and installing the Public Access Defibrillator or PAD is underway. An official opening will take place during the Diamond Jubilee celebrations on June 4.
Villagers raised the 2,500 cost of buying and fitting the PAD in memory of 17-year-old Guy Evans, who died from a sudden suspected heart arrhythmia in 2008. Since then, his parents, Beth and Crispin Evans, and his friends have been campaigning to raise awareness of the importance of basic first aid when someone collapses with sudden heart failure.
Mrs Evans said: The recent news about the young Bolton footballer, Fabrice Muamba, who collapsed during a live televised football match, has highlighted the importance of people knowing what to do when someone s heart suddenly stops and they can t breathe.
Fabrice was so lucky that it happened when a medical team was there to give him CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation) in those few vital few minutes after he stopped breathing and use a defibrillator to shock his heart back into working again.
The idea for using the old BT telephone box came from Mr Evans after the parish council bought the box for 1 from BT and invited suggestions for its use in the community.
He said: I discovered a number of villages around the country had done this and I know that Guy would be thrilled to think the box was going to be used in this way to help others. We miss him dreadfully, but we re determined to carry on campaigning for some good to come out of our loss.
The council supported the plan and donated 1,000 towards the cost of the PAD supplied by the Community Heartbeat Trust, a national charity set up to help save lives in the community.
Mr and Mrs Evans hosted a social evening at the village hall on March 30. Fifty guests were given a demonstration of the PAD. The machine gives instructions to users who would not need special knowledge.
Mr and Mrs Evans are hoping that other villages in the county also take up the idea: Many villages are some distance away from an ambulance or paramedic station. Having access to a defibrillator in the local phone box could potentially really help to save lives.
Having successfully financed the PAD, the charity called Heartbeats is now aiming to raise up to 7,000 over the next year to offer heart screening that could diagnose potentially fatal cardiac arrhythmia problems that kill an estimated 12 young people every week in the UK.
More information about Heartbeats and the PAD campaign is available from Beth Chesney-Evans on 01865 408011 or 07966 215550 (M) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org