By Paul Clegg
It has been a long time coming but two defibrillators destined to be installed in telephone boxes in Dobcross have been ordered and should soon be fully operational.
As it has taken so long to get permission to use the phone boxes at Ladcastle Road and outside the Swan Inn, the Dobcross Village Community decided to pay for a defibrillator which has for some time been installed in the Band Club.
At the moment it is only available during opening hours but the two portable defibrillators, once installed in the phone boxes, will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
This project started in March 2014 when DVC member Alison Labrey attended a meeting with a view to obtaining defibrillators for the village.
She was offered two units free of charge by the North West Ambulance Service if the village, via the DVC, raised the money to buy the necessary heated and vandal proof cabinets.
BT allowed the Saddleworth Parish Council to adopt both phone boxes, with permission for the one outside the Swan obtained from the landowners, Marston’s Brewery.
This permission was granted and a licence drawn up at a cost of approximately £1,000, with Marston’s generously paying £500 of the fees and also helping subsidise a fundraising comedy evening at the Swan with auction items and raffle prizes.
In addition, all profits from tickets and food were donated to the DVC defibrillator fund, along with money from the auction and raffle to raised £1,070.
Sincere thanks must go to Swan landlords Tim and Michael for all their efforts in support of this potentially lifesaving project and to Peter Young for hosting this event.
British Telecom has been extremely helpful with advice and help to refurbish the telephone boxes before the Parish Council took them on, including providing new glazing and signs and advice on maintenance for the future.
Thanks must also go to David Morris for his fundraising disco, to those who supported DVC events and to Councillor Nikki Kirkham who has given a donation from her budget as well as support and advice at each stage.
A defibrillator training session was arranged by Cllr Kirkham and her sister Jo for around 20 villagers, who appreciated the confidence boost of having practised CPR and learning about the equipment. More training sessions are planned and will be advertised.
The Ambulance Service says the use of the two phone boxes for defibrillators will be the first in Greater Manchester, so Dobcross is leading the way.
A ‘Guardian’ is being sought to monitor the Ladcastle Road defibrillator on a weekly basis. In addition, someone is needed to take on the general maintenance, i.e. occasional cleaning etc. of the telephone boxes. If you would like more information, please call Paul Clegg on 07791 303479.
A network of defibrillators has been installed across Saddleworth’s villages by the North West Ambulance Service, thanks to a project led by former Parish Councillor Alan Roughley.
Defibs can be found at spots including Uppermill Civic Hall, Denshaw Village Hall, Three Crowns pub at Scouthead, and most recently Friezland Church Hall and Tame Valley Squash and Tennis Club in Greenfield.