Kind-hearted youngsters raise cash for life saving equipment

Unveiling of a new defibrillator at Todmorden Market. Dean Mills, Tizzy Robertson and Tony Thomas.
Unveiling of a new defibrillator at Todmorden Market. Dean Mills, Tizzy Robertson and Tony Thomas.

A life-saving defibrillator is now housed in Todmorden Market thanks to the dedicated efforts of kind-hearted youngsters.

Members of Shade School’s Monday night swimming club held a sponsored swim to raise the £1,200 needed to install the equipment.

And after successfully completing the challenge last month, the kit is now in the market hall and available for use across the town.

The idea was masterminded by Tony Thomas, swimming teacher and owner of Todmorden Market’s Ham Corner, who saw the need for a defibrillator in a central location.

Cardiac arrest can affect people of any age and without warning and if this happens, swift CPR and defibrillation can help save a person’s life.

It is estimated that around 60,000 out of hospital cardiac arrests occur each year in the UK.

Mr Thomas, 55, said: “We’ve had to ring for an ambulance twice when people have collapsed. The council said money wasn’t available there are already defibrillators in various locations.

“There is one in the library, but the market is very central and I thought it would be the best place to put one.

“I put it to the kids I teach and they jumped at the idea of raising moneu. Having a heart condition myself, you just never know.

“It’s no use saying there’s one across the road when someone collapses on the floor. We have got it and I hope to never use it, but now it’s there, it’s there.

“It’s not just for the market, it’s for the local area.”

The sponsored swim involved 22 children, plus two parents swimming as many lengths as they could in 20 minutes.

Thanks to the efforts of all involved, plus donations from Todmorden Lions, J and C Warburton Funeral Directors and the Todmorden Masons, the cost was met.

Some of the money raised has also been used to train staff in operating the defibrillators, should they ever need to be used.

And the proud swimming teacher couldn’t be happier.

Mr Thomas, who has taught swimming for 15 years, added: “I was so chuffed and really proud of everyone there at the swim. They were all chuffed to bits too and I can’t praise them enough.

“There’s been a positive reaction from everybody.”

Another defibrillator has also been installed at Walsden St Peter’s Primary School.

The kind donation was made by Eileen and Terry Davis, grandparents of St Peter’s pupils Scarlett and Beatrice Davis, following the death of Eileen’s mother, Violet Humby.

As Violet had suffered from heart problems herself, the couple were keen to give a useful gift in her memory.

And although the family hope it is never needed, they are happy to think that the defibrillator could make a life-saving difference to a child or adult’s life.

Head teacher Peter Stevenson said, “This is a very generous gesture by the family. Not only have they supplied the defibrillator, but they also paid for staff to train in its use.

“These machines save lives and I’m very pleased that we now have one in school.”