Lifesaving equipment for town centre in Bury St Edmunds thanks to fast food restaurant

New defibrillator unveiled in Bury St Edmunds. Left to right, Mark Cordell, Paul Hicklin and Paul Di

New defibrillator unveiled in Bury St Edmunds. Left to right, Mark Cordell, Paul Hicklin and Paul Dickin. Picture: GREGG BROWN

A new lifesaving defibrillator has been installed in the town centre of Bury St Edmunds after a campaigning local businessman, the Business Improvement District (BID) organisation Our Bury St Edmunds and the town’s McDonald’s restaurant joined forces.

Since his own father’s death, Paul Hicklin, who lives in Bury, has been campaigning to see 24-hour public access defibrillators in town centres and other locations to help people in cardiac arrest. He and his family have already funded the only one currently available in the centre of town, at The Apex, another at the fire station and have plans to help install others.

But it was an incident involving a patient who suffered a cardiac arrest at McDonald’s in 2016 that prompted the drive for another defibrillator to serve that part of the town centre.

McDonald’s business manager Paul Dickin said: “In a life and death emergency every second counts – and for a colleague to run all the way to The Apex and back again to bring help, brought it home how critical a defibrillator is for this very busy area of town. We were happy to provide a location for one and very pleased to work with Paul and Our Bury St Edmunds to make it happen.”

Mark Cordell, the chief executive of Our Bury St Edmunds, Cordell said: “I was aware of the work that Paul had done to get defibrillators in public places and knew that he was concerned that a town the size of Bury St Edmunds should really have more than one in its centre. The incident at the McDonald’s end of town really reinforced that. We offer our business members free first aid courses which includes how to use a defibrillator, so it makes sense to ensure that they are within easy reach in an emergency.”

Around 200 people working in businesses within the town centre have now undertaken the free training.

And Mr Hicklin added: “It’s wonderful that the BID has helped one of its member businesses to get this defibrillator installed and I’d encourage any business in Bury St Edmunds that hasn’t yet signed up their staff to undergo the free first aid training to do so. The more people who are confident to use a defibrillator and know how to access their nearest one, the better. Someone’s life could one day depend on it.”

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For details of future first aid training organised by Our Bury St Edmunds contact Mike Kirkham on 01284 766258.