From great sorrow hope has been born. Fiona Finch reports how the Lancashire Football Association is partnering with a county charity to ensure more defibrillators are installed at football clubs across the region.
Football loving Adam Swanwick could never have imagined that a legacy project created following his death would one day win the support of the Lancashire Football Association.
But that is what has happened this Christmas as the sporting organisation announced a new goal .
It has teamed up with the Garstang based A.D.A.M appeal in a bid to get more potentially life saving defibrillators installed at county football clubs.
Announcing the new partnership at the Leyland HQ of the county FA the new partnership was given a kick start with the news that a dozen football clubs are to receive defibrillators.
Lancashire FA chief executive Officer Simon Gerrard and the A.D.A.M. (After Death Appears Miracles) appeal, named after Adam, sincerely hope the equipment will never be needed.
But they know cardiac arrest can strike unexpectedly any time anywhere.
Adam, who played for Garstang Football Club, suffered an acute heart attack on the way to sample his wedding meal with his fiancee Louise (pictured together below) on September 2 , 2012 and died later that day at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary. He was just 28.
Amid their grief his fiancee and family decided to fund raise and the A.D.A.M. appeal was set up.
The appeal raises funds to place defibrillators in community locations and to raise awareness in the north west of cardiac risk to young people.
Simon explained why his organisation had teamed up with A.D.A.M. and also welcomed the support of the North West Ambulance service to boost the charity’s work and ensure club defibrillators are available for community access too.
He said: “Had there been a working defibrillator nearby at the time many professionals say he (Adam) could be here.
“Sport can divide people but it also has the power to unite.”
Simon now wants county clubs to unite to support the A.D.A.M. appeal by spreading the word about it and even fund raising themselves.
Simon told those clubs attending the launch: “This is probably one of the best Christmas presents you as a club will receive. We hope to be able to raise awareness of heart conditions to as many clubs and people as possible."
The whole initiative has been kickstarted by a £20,000 donation.The FA has allocated this cash following the disbanding of Hoole Football Club which handed its £20,000 residual funding to the county F.A.
Several of the defibrillators were presented to club representatives at the launch.
There will also be four major fund-raising and awareness-raising events organised by the Lancashire FA including a charity golf day at Leyland Golf Club.
Simon said: “My personal favourite is a tough mudder which we’ll all be taking part in – to be held in September down in Cheshire. We’ll ask as many people to join in as possible.”
Those clubs which received defibrillators will be asked to give something back – to support the appeal by promoting the charity and its work on their club websites and social media and to make a commitment to ensure club representatives have relevant training in the use of defibrillators.
Simon said “The clubs will act as champions for the charity. Clubs will also be asked to put one percent of any money they raise back into the charity for the next two years.”
He said he had been humbled by the charity’s work and said: “My request is that you tell as many people as possible about this charity and the great work it’s actually delivering.”
He added that clubs’ support would also be part of supporting the game Adam loved.
Adam’s family joined the launch and gave it their seal of approval.
Sister in law Pam Bailey ,a co-founder and trustee of the A.D.A.M. Appeal said: “As Adam’s passion was football we were keen to progress with this partnership.
“We discovered 600 young people aged 14-35 die each year from undiagnosed heart conditions.”
The A.D.A.M. appeal has so far raised £100,000 and 90 defibrillators have been placed in the community, but the charity must also find funds to maintain the defibrillators, replacing batteries and pads every two years.
Adam’s mum Winnie Swanwick said a big thank you is due – not just to the FA, but to all who have helped run and support the A.D.A.M. appeal.
She said: “Adam was a very happy lad. He was a lovely lad and he’s greatly missed by his family, especially by his mum. I think of him every day.”
She has no doubt he would be delighted at the Lancashire FA’s involvement and said: “I think it’s absolutely brilliant.”
Adam’s brother Paul Bailey and sister Ann Bailey also attended the launch. Ann said: “We want to save as many lives as we can.”
A.D.A.M. appeal chair James Mullin said : “We want every club to have a defibrillator.”
Cheryl Pickstock, North West Ambulance Chain of Survival lead, told the launch: “There’s not enough defibrillators out there, not enough awareness about what a defibrillator can do and not enough training. It’s absolutely vital that someone isn’t frightened of using one.”
Afterwards she said: "We want to improve the chance of survival after cardiac arrest through working with the A.D.A.M. Appeal."
* The clubs receiving defibrillators or housing units for one are: Fulledge Colts, Bury F.C. Boys and Girls,Nelson FC, Furness Cavaliers Juniors, Winwick Athletic, Rishton United, Ramsbottom United Juniors, Astley and Tyldesley Junior Football Club, Southport FC, Rishton United, Lytham St Annes YMCA and Southport and Ainsdale Amateurs.
* If any electricians can donate their services to install the defibrillators they are asked to contact Simon at the Lancashire F.A. HQ