Man’s near-death experience prompts neighbours to buy defibrillator

Residents from the Ballingdon estate in Sudbury who have donated £50 each to buy a defibrillator for

Residents from the Ballingdon estate in Sudbury who have donated £50 each to buy a defibrillator for the area. Picture: ANDY READ - Credit: Archant

A Sudbury community has come together to buy its own defibrillator after one of its residents nearly died of a heart attack.

People living on the Ballingdon estate each contributed £50 towards the cost of the HELP’R Defibrillator positioned on the corner of Lime Grove and Elizabeth Way, Sudbury.

HELP’R is named after the roads on the estate where the sponsors live - Hall Rise, Elizabeth Way, Lime Grove, Pinecroft Rise and Robin Way.

The residents chipped in after one of them, Andy Read, suffered a near-fatal heart attack at home last August.

Despite being given first aid by his wife Sharon, he needed to be shocked three times by a defibrillator that had to be brought in by a doctor flown to the scene by the East Anglian Air Ambulance.

Grateful for the treatment that saved his life, he has since raised money for the Air Ambulance and has been working to get defibrillators made more widely available around the town.

Andy said: “It was a fantastic response from people living round and it’s great to see the defibrillator in place on the wall.

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“They are so important. Every minute that is lost in getting a defibrillator to someone sees their chances of survival drop by 10%.

“I was very lucky, my wife was there to help and there was a helicopter available with a doctor and a defibrillator.

“So if, after what happened to me, I can help save someone else’s life then that’s fantastic, and on this occasion my friends and neighbours have been there for me. I am extremely grateful to them.”

Resident Monique Driscoll said people had been happy to donate.

“We all thought it was a bit much for him to try and raise the money for a defibrillator on his own, and it is something that would be of benefit to us all living round here potentially,” she said.

“It was a marvellous idea of his, and £50 is not exactly expensive to save someone’s life.”

A campaign supported by the East Anglian Daily Times, Ipswich Star and BBC Suffolk is aiming to teach people vital lifesaving skills such as CPR.

More than 300 have enrolled in our Learn to be a Lifesaver campaign, which looks to train as many people as possible in the lifesaving skills at venues throughout the county.

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