Three more West Cornwall schools equipped with defibrillators to save children's lives
THREE more schools have taken delivery of lifesaving equipment – including at one very special presentation with the granddaughters of the man who inspired The Cornishman's Heart Start campaign.
Since the beginning of the year this newspaper has been working alongside the Ronnie Richards Memorial Charity (RRMC) to get more public access defibrillators (PADs) in west Cornwall and beyond.
The charity was founded by Paul Williams after his brother-in-law Ronnie Richards died after suffering a sudden cardiac arrest while playing five-a-side football at Penzance leisure centre.
Born in Penzance, Mr Richards was a devoted family man to his wife Alison, children John and Sarah, four grandchildren and many members of his extended family.
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The RRMC has fundraised for more than 50 PADs and seen hundreds of people trained to use them, and aims to see every school in the area covered.
On Friday, Mr Richards's young granddaughters Alice and Farrah were at Gulval Primary School when the lifesaving equipment was installed on site.
On the same day, St Mary's C of E School also received the equipment, which can be used to save the life of a person suffering from sudden cardiac arrest.
Newlyn School received its equipment on Thursday.
Mr Williams said: "PADs are essential in our community and especially in schools, where children have a whole life ahead of them.
"Cardiac death in an adult is traumatic – in a child it is devastating.
"The RRMC is pleased our schools are taking action and getting equipped with automated external defibrillator (AED) equipment to ensure everything possible is done in a cardiac arrest situation that currently claims five children's lives in UK schools each week."
The three schools have joined eight others in the Penwith area, which already have PADs on site.
Humphry Davy School has been leading the charge to get all schools covered.
Staff at the secondary school have organised fundraising events to pay for defibrillators in all schools across the Penwith Education Trust, as well as training students and the public to use the equipment.
Other devices have been paid for through generous donations from members of the public.
Mr Williams said: "I have researched the devastating effect cardiac death has on children and communities of a child at school.
"Sadly, all too often I read where an AED is fundraised at a school following a child's death to cardiac arrest.
"It is to be commended but common sense is that they should be there in the first place.
"In Liverpool 12-year-old Oliver King died of cardiac arrest while at school and the response is that all of the city's 122 primary schools now have AEDs."
The Cornishman and the RRMC are appealing for readers help to fund equipment for other schools and training teachers.
Do you have an idea for a fundraising event or can you spare some cash?
Contact RRMC secretary Mr Williams by e-mailing paulwil email@example.com or calling 01736 360864 or 07581 188043 for more information.
The RRMC is a team of unpaid volunteers and all monies received go towards the equipment.