Defib primaries boost

Defibrillator machines which have been funded by cash raised at the Lytham St Annes Lions Swimarathon earlier this year, being presented to local schools and organizations.' Lytham St Annes Lions Club president Ralph Morgan with represantives from local schools.
Defibrillator machines which have been funded by cash raised at the Lytham St Annes Lions Swimarathon earlier this year, being presented to local schools and organizations.' Lytham St Annes Lions Club president Ralph Morgan with represantives from local schools.
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Generous fund-raisers want to follow up their gift of defibrillators to Fylde secondary schools by ensuring the life-saving equipment is also available for primary age pupils.

Lytham St Annes Lions raised a record £10,000 at its annual Swimarathon event earlier this year and that funded the supply of defibrillators to secondary school across the area as well as training for staff.

Now, the organisation has set its sights on raising even more – the target is £14,000 – at the next Swimarathon in January to fund the machines for Fylde primary schools.

Lions spokesman Colin Holt said: “We were delighted with how the event went last year and how much was raised for this very worthy cause.

“It seems a natural follow-on to extend the scheme to primary schools and we hope as many swimmers and sponsors as possible will support us.”

A total of 19 primary schools across Fylde have been contacted, including Clifton Primary, St Annes, whose headteacher Rachel Legge said: “What a wonderful initiative this is.

“Children are never too young for a medical problem to happen and it will be good to have the extra peace of mind that this equipment will bring.

“My husband Steve works at Blackpool Sixth Form College and they have this equipment there.

“It is straightforward enough to use with the right instruction and an important part of the Lions initiative is that it cover training as well.

“We have just extended the swimming provision in school so we intend to enter pupils in the Swimarathon.”

Sarah Bamber, headteacher at Strike Lane Primary in Freckleton, added: “This is a wonderful idea and thanks to the Lions for extending their excellent initiative to primaries such as ours.”

The Lions decided to make the defibrillators their aim after being moved by calls – so far resisted by the Government – to make the machines available in all public places.

The on-pitch incident involving Premier League football Fabrice Muamba, who collapsed during an FA Cup tie but was kept alive by a defibrillator, brought the issue into the public eye nationally.

But they were also looking to prevent tragedies such as the sudden death of St Annes teenager Luke Rutter, who in 2010 collapsed with heart problems on a tennis court.

Luke was a pupil at Lytham St Annes Technology and Performing Arts College and the headteacher there, Philip Wood,said: “We are very grateful to the Lions Club for their effort and initiative.

“The fund-raising effort raises awareness of the dangers of heart disease and of the dangers of the loss of life even among fit and apparently healthy young people.”

Anyone interested in taking part or helping on the day should call (01772) 679766.