Campaign to save lives is poised to go national

The first: St John Ambulance official Fred Owen and Bob Westerdale, Assistant Editor at The Star,  present Helen Evans with the defibrillator she plans to have installed at South Normanton.                     Picture: Steve parkin
The first: St John Ambulance official Fred Owen and Bob Westerdale, Assistant Editor at The Star, present Helen Evans with the defibrillator she plans to have installed at South Normanton. Picture: Steve parkin
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THE St John Ambulance organisation is planning to escalate our campaign to provide life-saving defibrillators in public places on to a national footing.

The Star is supporting a bid to provide the kit to grassroots football grounds around the region.

It follows the death of Roger Evans, the Dronfield referee who collapsed in March at a ground where no such equipment was available.

Around £4,000 has already been raised by readers and well-wishers.

Today, St John Ambulance, working in partnership with the Cardiac Science machine providers, handed over a free, top-of-the-range defibrillator worth £1,500 to Evans’ daughter Helen.

She aims to see it installed at South Normanton, where her father had been officiating before his heart attack.

A second device, bought by fund raisers from the Talbot Arms Charity Circle in Dronfield, is being pencilled in for the nearby Gosforth Playing fields complex.

Gosforth Fields, a relatively new set-up, is an ideal venue for such a machine, given its high usage by the community, particularly at weekends.

A defibrillator, which gives the heart an electric shock in cases of arrest, would be placed in Gosforth’s state-of-the-art main building.

St John regional manager Fred Owen said: “When we heard about what happened to Roger and the campaign we and Caridac Science wanted to make a gesture of support.

“Discussions are going on about a national campaign where St John Ambulance can get as many machines as possible out into the community.

“It is the sort of thing you want close at hand if an emergency happens, but not one, of course, you’d ever want to use.”

Kevin Garvey, sales manager at Cardiac Science, said they were delighted to make their initial donation.

Helen added that her family had been touched by the offer of two machines and also by the unexpectedly generous supply of cash donations which had come in to the tune of £4,000.

“In this financial climate it is great that people are giving up money, time and equipment for this cause,” she said.

“This is a long term project and with the help of St John and others we hope to see it grow and grow.

“In isolated areas, it can take a while for ambulances to arrive at the scene of a collapse, and defibrillators can make all the difference.”

You can donate to this cause through PayPal go to www.hides.force9.co.uk/rogerevans) or sending funds to ref.rog@hotmail.com.

Cheques payable to R Evans can be sent to Alfred Dunham and Sons, Funeral Directors, 56 Snape Hill Lane, Dronfield, S18 2LG.

For further information: e-mail ref.rog@hotmail.com

Supporters and donors to the campaign include:

Howard Webb MBE; Sheffield FC; The Wragg League; St John Ambulance; The British Heart Foundation; Sheffield and Hallamshire County FA; The Star.