Rotary Club leads the Fundraising for Defibrillators in Keynsham and Saltford
by Brian Smith
I first became aware of Arrhythmia Alliance when I attended a presentation given by their Chief Executive Officer, Trudie Lobban, on a proposed installation of an AED with 24/7 access in my local village within the Chew Valley. I was immediately struck by the importance of early defibrillation during a Cardiac Arrest and the fact that something like 100,000 lives annually could be saved within the UK if defibrillation was administered early enough. Here was a chance for lives to be saved if AEDs were placed in locations that were accessible by the general public.
Being a member of the Rotary Club of Keynsham Chew Valley, I discussed this at the next Rotary meeting and, with their full support and that of the Rotary Club of Keynsham, I formed a small committee to look into the possibility of providing a unit in Keynsham similar to that being proposed within the Chew Valley.
It very soon became apparent that all members were very much in favour of us proceeding with this project and so we formed ROTARY in Keynsham. This enabled the two clubs to work together to raise funds to take this project forward.
We made arrangements to hold a street collection in Keynsham and a collection at the local "out of town" supermarket to coincide with Arrhythmia Alliance Awareness week in June 2008. We also made contact with Keynsham Town Council to advise them what we were proposing and offering to arrange for a presentation of the benefits of early defibrillation in the event of a Cardiac Arrest.
This was subsequently arranged at a Town Council meeting and we were delighted to receive a generous donation and, together with our collections, we were in a position to purchase and install our first AED. We decided that the local Fire Station in Keynsham was the best location and, with the support of the Station manager, we had an official opening on 15th November 2008 performed by local show business personality Fred Wedlock.
We have subsequently had other fundraising events and have purchased a second AED for nearby Saltford. We are also instigating a Public Awareness Campaign throughout Keynsham and Saltford to bring to the local community the advantages of being aware of what to do in the case of a Cardiac Arrest.
Brian Smith, Community Service Chairman, Rotary Club of Keynsham Chew Valley