Defibrillator unveiled in Bluntisham seven years after friends raised £7,500 to set up community first responder group

08:00 20 April 2014

At the Budgens garage, is a new defibrillator for Bluntisham, ( l-r) Community First Responder Stephen Matthews, skydivers Nick Bennett, and Emma Pingree,

At the Budgens garage, is a new defibrillator for Bluntisham, ( l-r) Community First Responder Stephen Matthews, skydivers Nick Bennett, and Emma Pingree,

Archant

Two friends who raised more than £7,500 to start a community first responder group have now installed a defibrillator in Bluntisham.

At the Budgens garage, is a new defibrillator for Bluntisham, (centre) Community First Responder Stephen Matthews, (left) skydivers Nick Bennett, and Emma Pingree,At the Budgens garage, is a new defibrillator for Bluntisham, (centre) Community First Responder Stephen Matthews, (left) skydivers Nick Bennett, and Emma Pingree,

Emma Pingree joined friend Nick Bennett on a sponsored sky dive a few years after he was paralysed in a car crash in 2002. Nick wanted to raise money for Magpas, which helped him during his time of need, and in 2010 they used some of the money to start a community first responder group, which helps people who have had heart attacks or face life-threatening situations.

With some money still left in the kitty, the group has bought a public defibrillator, which has been installed at the entrance to Budgens of Bluntisham.

It means that if someone has a heart attack in the village, anyone can use the machine, which talks the user through how to utilise it, to help save a life.

Nick, 30, said: “We set up the group at the same time that the management of community responders went from Magpas to the East of England Ambulance Service, so the money got a bit lost. The amount raised was more than we needed to start the group, so now we have bought the defibrillator. It means if we are not on call, then it’s there for anyone in the village to use and make a difference.”

One of the Magpas doctors who helped Nick was travelling behind him at the time of the accident.

Steve Highland, who owns the Budgens store, has ensured all of his staff have been trained to use the defibrillator.

Four years after it was launched, the Bluntisham first responder group, currently made up of Stephen Matthews and Hazel Baughan, has treated 164 people in the village and in the Colne and Earith area.

INFORMATION: The group needs new members. Call 01954 712400 or email responderadmin@eastamb.nhs.uk.

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