Life-saving equipment in place thanks to determined couple

UPPERMILL now has another life saving defibrillator thanks to a determined couple and the generous community.

Audrey and Graham Lee launched a campaign to raise funds for the equipment after Graham suffered a cardiac arrest at home last year.Unable to access a nearby defibrillator, Audrey, who is minister at Ebenezer Congregational Church in Uppermill, performed CPR for 12-and-a-half minutes on Graham before an ambulance arrived.

He was given only a 0.08 per cent survival rate, which would have been significantly increased had he been treated with a defibrillator.

Remarkably, he made a full recovery after spending seven days in intensive care – motivating the couple to get a defibrillator installed to help others in a similar situation.

In January they launched a campaign to raise £600 for the defibrillator and another £500 for a box to house it in on the church on School Street, where it will be accessible 24/7.

They smashed their target, raising £2,000 and now the defibrillator is operational, along with ones at the police station, Civic Hall and Church Inn. There is also one inside Saddleworth Pool and Leisure Centre.

Audrey said: “It’s one of those things you hope we never have to use – but at least we’ve got it in place in case we do.

“It was actually quite emotional. It’s amazing how something good has come out of something bad.
“None of this would have been possible without the generous support of the community so we want to say a big thank you to everybody.”

Graham added: “We were hoping to have it in place for Yanks weekend but it was about a week after that in the end.

“The first one was broken as the box had a crack in it so there was a bit of a delay getting it sorted. But they were very helpful and sent another straight away.”

Graham installed the box onto the external wall of the church with the help of Colin Watt, who also helped by putting on a fundraising concert by Entertaining Friends to raise funds.

The cost of electrics has been kindly donated and any money remaining will be spent on maintenance as well as buying defibrillator training equipment for sessions at the church.

Catherine Johnstone, of Saddleworth Physiotherapy Clinic on Uppermill High Street, will deliver the sessions at the church and all are welcome.

She said: “We did our first inhouse session four weeks ago. I was thrilled Audrey’s three granddaughters, who are all under 10, were there and are now competent and confident in these skills.”

Meanwhile, Audrey’s life saving actions earned her a CPR Hero award from the British Heart Foundation, which she will receive in London on Friday, September 20.

The couple will travel to the capital for the ceremony at the Globe Theatre where they will join esteemed guests, VIPs and other winners.

• Any group interested in having a training session with Catherine can email her at: physio@zen.co.uk

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