A FIRST aid trainer is backing an appeal for life-saving equipment to be installed in schools by offering free lessons.
Suzanne Stickley, 41, from Stoke Row, will visit schools to show teachers how to use defibrillators donated by the new charity Millie’s Dream.
She will be joined by two other instructors from her company First Aid Matters, which provides life- saving courses.
Mrs Stickley said: “Teaching first aid makes you realise how far away you are from an ambulance station and a defibrillator.
“I try to explain the timeline people have realistically to do CPR before it becomes irrelevant.
“Living in Henley, we’re a long way away from an ambulance station. The nearest ones are in Didcot and Reading but they need to be at the scene within eight minutes really.”
Sarah Roberts, 44, of King’s Road, Henley, has launched Millie’s Dream to raise £15,000 so a defibrillator can be installed in all seven schools in Henley as well as the primaries in Sonning Common, Crazies Hill and Checkendon.
The appeal was inspired by her six-year-old daughter Millie, who suffers from a heart and lung condition and will need corrective surgery in the next few years.
Mrs Stickley formed First Aid Matters in March last year after her son Fletcher, now five, suffered second degree burns after accidentally pulling a pan of boiling water off a stove and on to himself.
Mrs Stickley, who was a paramedic in the London Ambulance Service at the time, put him in a cold shower for 10 minutes and then took him to Townlands Hospital in Henley.
Fletcher has since made a full recovery and has no scars.
Mrs Stickley, who also has a seven-year-old son, Archie, with her husband Will, said: “He’s absolutely fine because I did what was required and what I had been trained to do. If I hadn’t known what to do he might not have been so lucky and had lasting damage.”
Mrs Stickley, a community responder for Stoke Row, said that when Fletcher went back to the Happy Days pre-school in Nettlebed, a lot of parents asked her how she had known how to treat him.
She said: “I realised there was a big gap. I started to teach parents and now it has grown to providing medical assistance at a number of events.
“We’ve taught all the management team at The Henley College as well as brownies and scouts.
“We try to keep to the Henley area because it doesn’t have any central first aid courses.”
Mrs Stickley added Gail Dibbens, from Watlington, to her team a year ago and Steve Ambler, from Nettlebed, joined recently. First Aid Matters is set to launch a babysitting course and will be running basic lifes-aving courses in Henley later this month with all proceeds going to Millie’s Dream.
The courses are fully certified and will include defibrillator and CPR training.
Mrs Stickley said: “It’s so important that people don’t feel afraid of pressing a red button, which is literally all you do. You can save lives, end of story.”
She hopes that Millie’s Dream will also be able to put a defibrillator in the town hall.
She said: “It will be great to have them in schools but they shut so we need the machines in other places too.”
According to the British Heart Foundation, a patient who suffers cardiac arrest has one-fifth of a chance of survival after eight minutes without defibrillation but this drops by 10 per cent with every minute.
The three-hour courses will take place at LA Fitness, in Newtown Road, on Saturday, October 19 at 9am and 1pm. The fee is £30 and there are 30 places available for each one. For more information, visit www.firstaidmatters.co or www.millies dream.org.uk