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In loving memory of
Sam Polledri

He was just 24 and devastatingly, it is thought he might have survived if a defibrillator had reached him on time.

Open-air CPR event and launch of community defibrillator at We The Curious on 29 July in memory of Sam Polledri

About the event

On Friday 29 July an open-air Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) event took place at Millennium Square, Bristol to celebrate the launch of a new public access Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) near the Planetarium at We The Curious.

The CPR and defibrillator awareness event will run from 11:00 to 16:00. Passers-by will have the opportunity to learn how to do CPR and use a defibrillator — skills that might have saved 24-year-old Sam Polledri’s life. Sadly for Sam although he was surrounded by five defibrillators in and around Millennium Square where he collapsed none of them were accessible to the general public.

The goal of the event is to save more lives because local communities will be better equipped to give early CPR and defibrillation.

About Sam

Sam’s death was a tragedy that might have been avoided if he’d had access to a community defibrillator. Sam died from a cardiac arrest. He collapsed in Millennium Square, in Bristol surrounded by five defibrillators in the area but none of them were accessible to the public.

Sam Polledri Foundation

Sam’s family has since been pouring their efforts into trying to save other lives in his name. The Sam Polledri Foundation (through GWAAC) is aiming to install public access defibrillators in as many places as possible. The first has been installed on the wall in Millennium Square by the Planetarium. And two more are to follow at the Downs Café and in Stoke Bishop by the Co-Op.

We The Curious

We The Curious are fully supporting Sam’s family and their cause. In addition to installing the AED and plaque in Sam’s memory, they are also renaming the bench near Sam’s memorial and planting forget-me-nots in Sam’s memorial garden behind it. Their collaboration and support has been hugely appreciated by Sam’s family and GWAAC.

1000-mile bike ride fundraiser

The family’s efforts to get defibrillators into the community have been supported by some huge fundraising feats:

The father of Sam’s girlfriend, Lisa and his family friend completed a 1,000-mile bike ride across the UK, starting in Cornwall and finishing in Scotland. Emil and Giulio did all this in 10 days – Averaging 100 miles per day. They did this in memory of Sam and to raise funds for the Sam Polledri Foundation (through GWAAC). So far, they have raised £3,005 on JustGiving, and are in talks with a company that will also donate £1,500:

They started from Land’s End on the 5 September, reach North Bristol on the 7 September, and hit the finish line in John O’ Groats on 14 September.


In 2021, Great Western Air Ambulance Charity (GWAAC) was called to 1964 incidents in our regions of Bristol, Bath and North East Somerset, South Gloucestershire, Gloucestershire, North Somerset, and parts of Wiltshire. 26% of these were for people suffering a cardiac arrest.

Every year in the UK 30,000 people suffer an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest. For every minute that passes, a person’s chance of survival goes down by 10%. Sadly, only 1 in 10 survive.

Right now, only 40% of people receive early CPR and fewer than 2% have a defibrillator used prior to the ambulance arriving.

Early bystander CPR can double or triple the victim’s chance of survival from cardiac arrest. CPR plus defibrillation within 3–5 min of collapse can produce survival rates as high as 49–75%*
External Defibrillator
Great Western Air Ambulance Charity
GWAAC is working hard to increase the chances of survival for local people who suffer a cardiac arrest because although they provide a rapid response service, it still takes the crew minutes to reach the scene. In those vital minutes, it’s the actions of bystanders that can help save a life.

The Great Western Air Ambulance Charity Critical Care Team travels at speed to deliver advanced life support to patients suffering a cardiac arrest outside of a hospital. But the chance of someone surviving is highly dependent on what happens before they get there.

The charity wants to strengthen every link in the chain of survival. That’s why it is equipping its local communities with the resource and knowledge to respond and give someone the best chance.

Together, we can save lives.


  • GWAAC’s public access defibrillator campaign makes it easy for people to place an AED on a building or street. An AED is an easy-to-use medical device that can deliver an electrical shock, or defibrillation, to someone who is in cardiac arrest. It is an essential part of trying to save their life.
    GWAAC is working with HeartSafe to provide an all-in-one AED package including training, support with maintenance and help with fundraising for the package
  • Great Western Heartstarters is an initiative that takes volunteers into schools to teach children how to do CPR and use a defibrillator. The aim is to educate the next generation and give people in urgent need the best chance of survival, even when the crew can’t be there. The number of students taught in secondary schools for the 2021- 2022 academic year was 3,496