Saturday, 23 October 2021

Millie’s Dream hands over second school defibrillator

A SECOND defibrillator has been donated to a Henley school thanks to the Millie’s Dream appeal.

A SECOND defibrillator has been donated to a Henley school thanks to the Millie’s Dream appeal.

Sacred Heart primary in Greys Hill received the life-saving device during a special assembly on Monday and will keep it in the school hall.

Sarah Roberts, of King’s Road, Henley, launched the appeal to raise £15,000 to equip 10 schools with a defibrillator after being inspired by her six-year-old daugher, Millie, who has a heart and lung condition.

Millie, who is a pupil at Rupert House School in Henley, attended the assembly alongside Henley Mayor Stefan Gawrysiak and Caleb Southwell, from Aston, who paid for the device.

Suzanne Stickley, of First Aid Matters, taught pupils what to do in an emergency and how to help someone if they collapse.

Headteacher Karen Edwards said: “Today has been a wonderful opportunity for the children to learn a little bit more about what to do in an emergency.

“I think it is absolutely essential that defibrillators are in as many different public places as possible but hopefully we will never need to use ours.”

Mr Southwell donated the defibrillator because his three-year-old daughter Lorelei will attend Sacred Heart when she is older.

He said: “I think this is a good investment because primary schools are the backbone of the Henley community and our children are the future.

“Sarah has done an amazing job rallying support from the community.” Miss Roberts, who is clinical director of the Active VIII physiotherapy clinic, said the support from the community had been “heartwarming”.

“We are up to eight machines now and we are well on the way to 10 by Christmas,” she said.

“Other schools like the Oratory and Nettlebed are wanting to buy defibrillators and they are fund- raising. It’s absolutely fantastic and thank you to all donors who have been so keen to embrace the dream.”

Mrs Stickley, from Stoke Row, will return to Sacred Heart to teach staff how to use the defibrillator.

The first machine was donated to Rupert House School.

Meanwhile, an author is donating profits from her book to the appeal.

Hannah Skaanild, from Wargrave, self-published the children’s novel Cat Wants Wings, the first part of a trilogy.

She held a book reading at Henley library’s weekly Rhyme Time where her father Dennis Coath, a former ITV presenter, read the book to about 30 children and parents.

Mrs Skaanild is supporting the appeal because her three children Lily, eight, Annie, six, and Ruby, three, go to Rupert House School.

She said: “Annie is in Millie’s class and the charity is particularly close to me. I thought it was such a good cause to get involved in.”

Mrs Skaanild originally wrote the stories to comfort her children when they became homesick after the family moved to Poland five years ago because her husband Nick had accepted a job with a beer company.

The appeal has so far raised more than £14,000 in donations and pledges. The latest donations include £110 that was raised at a Halloween party at the Baskerville in Shiplake.

There have also been pledges by the Goring, Woodcote and District Lions Club and Wood Wines in Nuffield.

Cat Wants Wings is available at the Bell Bookshop in Bell Street, Henley, or by visiting

* Millie and the Mayor will be opening a Christmas fair for the Love Henley group at Hotel du Vin in Henley on Sunday at 11am. It will include stalls selling local produce, gifts and crafts as well as a raffle from which the profits will go to the appeal.

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