Lee Whitworth, who once served in the British army, is a volunteer community responder, so he understands the importance of rapid action in the event of an emergency.
Mr Whitworth, who owns A&E Harmonious Compliance Training Limited with his wife, Alison, is playing a leading role in an initiative to install defibrillators in his home town of Richmond, North Yorkshire.
Together with the support of North Yorkshire County Council, Louise Morton from the local business Neeps & Tatties, and other residents, Mr Whitworth is raising money for a newly formed charity, Heart of Richmond with the aim of installing as many defibrillators as possible across the town. The first unit and its cabinet have been delivered and will be installed shortly.
Mr Whitworth said: “We are initially aiming to get at least three units installed, however I would love to see 20 or more in the not too distant future. The ultimate goal would be to have a unit within half a mile of all Richmond houses, enabling many more lives to be saved in the event of cardiac arrest.
“My work is dedicated to teaching people not just to save lives, but to have the confidence to do so. Having these units available means that a 999 operator can direct a caller to the nearest box, give them the access code and talk them through the process of using the defibrillator. This can quite literally mean the difference between life and death for the patient.”
Heart of Richmond’s work has been supported by Coun Stuart Parsons of North Yorkshire County Council, who said: “There are lots of businesses taking the initiative and installing defibs on site, but there are few readily available to the public in our area. To see someone dedicating their time to fundraising and changing this is marvellous and our town stands to benefit from this greatly.”
The first unit, which was largely funded by a grant from the council, should be installed within the next few weeks and will be located on Darlington Road to service Whitefields, St Nicholas Road and Ronaldshay, and suggestions for the location of the next installation are welcome.
This project is entirely funded through donations which can be made by businesses and individuals, with details available at https://www.facebook.com/HeartofRichmondNY/.