The first of three life-saving machines paid for by the fund-raising efforts of an enterprising Ansdell youngster has been installed, with the other two expected to follow shortly.
Austin Brennand, a five-year-old pupil at Ansdell Primary School who had heart problems as a baby, determined earlier this year to do all he could to generate enough cash to have a first defibrillator for public use installed in the village.
Along with events such as a sponsored bike ride, an online donation site was set up and the public rallied round to back to the tune of £4,500 - far exceeding the initial target and meaning there was enough money to pay for a trio of the machines.
The first is now available on the wall of Ansdell Institute in Woodlands Road, with local electrician Danny Barr having installed it free of charge.
Two other electricians, Dave Nicholls and Barry Mitchell, have offered to similarly donate their services to instal the other two machines, at Fylde Rugby Club in Blackpool Road and the Starr Hills Residential Care Home in Clifton Drive.
Austin’s mum Katey said: “We are all delighted to see the first machine installed and looking forward to the other two following shortly. Austin is thrilled at the way the community rallied round to support his efforts.”
Austin, whose fund-raising efforts earned him a Tower Hero accolade from our sister paper The Gazette, was born with a rare condition which meant he needed vital surgery to correct four abnormalities with his heart.
For his Christening, his parents invited family and friends to donate money rather than gifts so they could buy a defibrillator on his behalf and donate it to Park View 4U playing fields in Lytham.
When Austin heard the machine had saved three lives, he suggested raising money for a defibrillator for Ansdell, where the family lives, and set an initial target of £1,500, which was quickly passed.
Katey added: “We had a wonderful response from people willing to donate and fundraise and our thanks to everyone. The more defibrillators there are, the more lives will be saved.”
Suzanne Thomas, headteacher at Ansdell Primary School, said: “Austin is an incredible little boy and we are so proud of him.”