Live-saving machines sited in two popular South Yorkshire parks after runner’s death

Michael Wakefield, aged 69, of Barnsley, a member of Doncaster Athletics Club, who collapsed and died during Doncasters Park Run, at Sandall Park, on Saturday September 24.
Michael Wakefield, aged 69, of Barnsley, a member of Doncaster Athletics Club, who collapsed and died during Doncasters Park Run, at Sandall Park, on Saturday September 24.
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Life-saving defibrillator machines are set to be installed at two popular South Yorkshire parks after a runner collapsed and died.

Doncaster Athletics Club member Michael Wakefield, aged 69, collapsed during Doncaster’s parkrun event at Sandall Park on September 24 and later died.

Parkrun members have now raised around £200 to buy an automated external defibrillator - which delivers an electric shock to the heart of someone who is in cardiac arrest - and it was recently sited in the park.

A statement on the Doncaster parkrun website said: “On behalf of everyone at Doncaster parkrun thank you so much for your generosity, it is very much appreciated.”

In addition, members of the popular Sheffield Hallam parkrun have also raised more than £700 to buy their own defibrillator.

They hope to have it installed for visitors to use at Endcliffe Park before Christmas.

Crosspool man Ryan Amos, aged 37, event director of Sheffield Hallam parkrun, said: “We heard about the tragic news at the Doncaster parkrun and seen as ours is one of the most popular events in the country we thought that it would be sensible to buy a defibrillator.

“We get about 500 runners each Saturday morning taking part, which is great to see, and we get people of all different ages and abilities.

“The response to the fundraising appeal was fantastic.

“We raised the money we needed to buy the machine in just 24 hours so I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who contributed.”

The Sheffield Hallam University sport development assistant manager added that event directors now hope to buy an outdoor cover for the AED so they can site it in the park for everyone to use.

He added: “It is very busy when parkrun is on so its the ideal time to have the AED there just encase.

“However it is a very busy park generally so if we can site it there permanently then this will benefit everyone.

“Our event directors will have some training on how to use it and any volunteers who want to have a look are also welcome, but I believe they are very easy to use.”

A number of tributes were posted online following Mr Wakefield’s death.

Doncaster Athletics Club member Kev Lincoln said: “He had been with the club for several years and was a very popular man.

“He never lost his passion for running and was always very friendly and supportive to new members.

“Even though he lived in Barnsley he travelled two or three times a week to run with us, his commitment was amazing.

“He was a member of the Pacers group - the idea behind that is to get people from an armchair to 5k in eight weeks.

“He would support the new members of the group and take them out on their first training sessions. He was a well respected man.”

Parkrun events are free and held at public parks across the country and abroad every Saturday morning from 9am.

The route is a 5k and all ages and abilities are welcome. For more information visit www.parkrun.org.uk