Church installs ‘vital’ defibrillator after £1,000 sum from mystery donor

Cromer Road Congregational Church secretary Anna Davies and deacon David Poore with the newly instal

Cromer Road Congregational Church secretary Anna Davies and deacon David Poore with the newly installed defibrillator. Photo: supplied by Jane Finch - Credit: Archant

An anonymous donor has been thanked for their generosity after giving £1,000 towards life-saving equipment at a Norfolk church.

Worshippers at North Walsham Congregational Church started fundraising for a defibrillator after the third time a cardiac arrest was suffered at the church.

And thanks to a mysterious benefactor, the church has now installed the life-saving apparatus at their Cromer Road site.

Fundraiser Chris Finch, 65, a regular attendee at the church, said he didn't know who the donor was, but added: 'I guess it's someone who feels this could save a lot of lives in the future.'

Deacon Anna Davies said: 'We've had people pass out three times and every time paramedics asked 'do you have a defibrillator?'

'We were having to run quite a way to get one as there were none in this area at all.'

Mr Finch, a retired security guard from Buxton, said: 'I spoke to AED who helped us get started with fundraising, with a donation of £1,000 via the Tesco Bags of Help scheme.'

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Mr Finch and his wife Jane, 65, delivered leaflets in Cromer Road.

'The anonymous donation came in after that,' he added.

'AED said they couldn't tell us who it was, but that the same person gave two lots of £500.'

Mr Finch said they had to raise £2,000, and were halfway there after the funding from Tesco.

He said: 'It was a great help but then I did a campaign on my Facebook and we only got about another £95, so we weren't sure whether we'd reach our target.'

Mr Finch added that the other defibrillator in North Walsham was too far away.

'When someone's heart stops and they need a shock, getting there and back was time wasted.

'I was first aid trained at work years ago and you know you need to dial 999 and do what you can.

'The equipment comes with instructions - it won't give a shock if it detects even a faint pulse.'

Defibrillator charity AED Donate have installed 1,300 appliances across the UK since they were founded four years ago.

Jamie Roberts, chief executive said, while he didn't know the identity of the mystery donor: 'It's a massive thank you from everyone, both at the charity and in the community. Without people like them, we simply can't install these machines and save lives.'

The equipment was installed outside the church on Thursday, September 27, and is available for use by any member of the public.

What do defibrillators do?

A defibrillator is a device to deliver an electric shock to the heart of someone in cardiac arrest.

Jamie Richards, head of AED Donate, said: 'Having a defibrillator in communities is absolutely vital.

'Every minute someone is in cardiac arrest their chance of survival decreases by 10 to 14pc - if you're waiting eight minutes for an ambulance you've got no chance.

'But if you can get the defibrillator to them within two to three minutes, their chance of survival goes up to around 70pc.

'It's absolutely vital and for us it doesn't matter whether an ambulance crew, a fire engine, or a member of the public on one of our devices, that delivers the shock.

'If you're in cardiac arrest that's what you need.'

Mr Richards, who founded the charity four years ago, added said AED are always looking to help communities fundraise for the devices.

For more information visit AED Donate's website or call the charity on 01785 472224.