Wednesday, 19 January 2022
A DEFIBRILLATOR is to be installed in the cricket pavilion on Whitchurch village green.
The life-saving device has been paid for by the Premier League, which set up a fund for grassroots sports clubs to buy defibrillators after Danish footballer Christian Eriksen went into cardiac arrest on the pitch while playing at the Euros this summer and was saved by the use of a defibrillator.
This came nine years after the same thing happened to Bolton Wanderers’ player Fabrice Muamba during a televised FA Cup game.
The Whitchurch defibrillator will be in a case mounted on the wall of the pavilion and will be accessible by a code which can be retrieved by calling 999.
The village already has two defibrillators, one in a telephone box at the junction of Manor Road and High Street, near the village hall, and the other at Whitchurch Primary School, although this is not available out of school hours.
Whitchurch’s football and cricket clubs both play matches on the green and also share facilities with St Andrew’s School in Pangbourne so the winner of the school’s staff Euros sweepstake offered to use their winnings to buy a defibrillator for the football club.
Alistair Aitchison, a member of the club, investigated and found out that the Premier League funding was already available.
Speaking at a meeting of Whitchurch Parish Council, he said: “As it turns out, it has set up a fund following the two incidents where professional football players went into cardiac arrest and wants to get as many football clubs as possible to have a defibrillator.
“I was able to apply and five minutes later I was able to get approval and tell the school we had funding.
“The statistics show that for every minute that you fail to get a defibrillator to somebody who’s in cardiac arrest the likelihood that they will survive reduces by 10 per cent.
“Unfortunately, we had a case two years ago when we did lose a member of Whitchurch Hill Football Club.
“Even though the defibrillator was only at the village hall, it took 20 minutes to get the defibrillator by which time he’d suffered massive brain damage.
“Although we got his heart going again, he wasn’t able to survive.
“So the proposal is that we have a defibrillator in the area where most of the sport is played.
“To have a defibrillator on the village green where people are actively exercising would reduce the time to be able to access that from 10 minutes to one.”
Council chairman Jim Donahue said: “It’s a great idea and makes a lot of sense to have one on the village green. Well done for taking the initiative.”
The council voted unanimously to approve the installation of a defibrillator.
A video film showing how to use a defibrillator will be put on the village website, whitchurchonthames.com
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