Parishioners in Sutton Valence, Kent received a belated Christmas present this week in the form of an Automatic External Defibrillator which has been installed outside their village hall in North Street. Each year over 100,000 people in the UK suffer sudden cardiac arrest in a public space. Their chances of survival are increased by up to 50% if a defibrillator is used promptly.
Modern defibrillators are completely automatic and can safely be used by members of the public without previous training. A recent handover demonstration was attended by representatives of the Women’s Institute, a local Dancing Society, Football Teams, Sutton Valence Gardening Association, Flower Arranging and Fine Arts Societies all of whom use either the Village Hall or the adjacent Sports Field. As well as familiarising themselves with the defibrillator, delegates were able to try Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) on specially designed mannequins.
This defibrillator has been provided as part of a community partnership between Suffolk based Charity The Community Heartbeat Trust (who provided technical expertise and training), East Kent Freemasons (who provided the funding), and Sutton Valence Parish Council who will be responsible for ongoing maintenance. This was a Group 5 Tercentenary project undertaken by Belvidere, Agricola, Duke of Kent and Maiedes Stana Lodges, supported by the Cornwallis East Kent Freemasons Charity.
Speaking at a recent handover ceremony, Eve Poulter, Chair of Sutton Valence Parish Council said, “ I would like to thank all those who have made this possible. The generosity of our local Freemasons and the support of The Community Heartbeat Trust mean that our parishioners can use our facilities confident in the knowledge that should a problem arise, the most up to date and effective equipment is on hand.”
Bill Laidler, speaking on behalf of the Cornwallis East Kent Freemasons Charity said “ We are delighted to be able to support such a worthwhile and important community project, as part of our celebrations for the 300th Anniversary of English Freemasonry. We hope that this partnership will become a model for others in the coming years”. Community Heartbeat has so far provided over 3,000 public access defibrillators. If a friend or member of your family is suddenly taken ill in a public space, phone 999. If appropriate, the Ambulance Service will guide you to your nearest defibrillator.