Fund launched to increase number of life-saving defibrillators across East Renfrewshire
Family donate £9,000 to create lasting legacy from loved one's death
Published: 19 September 2023
A dedicated fund has been launched to increase the number of potentially life-saving defibrillators available for public use across East Renfrewshire.
The Provost's Community Defibrillator Fund will allow donations and funding for public access defibrillators (PADs) projects to be collected and to raise awareness of life-saving skills including CPR and how to use a defibrillator.
Provost Mary Montague has taken on the role of the Council's Defibrillator Community Champion and will work closely with community groups, community planning partners, local stakeholders and private businesses to drive forward this initiative.
Provost Mary Montague said: 'With personal experience of losing a family member following a cardiac arrest, this is a cause very close to my heart. For every minute it takes for a defibrillator to reach someone and deliver a shock, their chances of survival reduce by up to 10%. It is vitally important that we increase the number of publicly accessible defibrillators across the area, to provide residents with round-the-clock access to these potentially lifesaving machines. As a Council, we are absolutely committed to driving this work forward and I look forward to working with a wide range of people and organisations to grow our network of defibrillators across East Renfrewshire.'
A generous £9,000 donation has already been made to the Provost's Community Defibrillator Fund by the family of Alex Leckie, who sadly passed away aged just 52 after suffering a cardiac arrest during a round of golf.
Alex's wife, Angela, is determined to do all she can to raise awareness of cardiac arrest and ensure a legacy from her husband's death by supporting the roll-out of more lifesaving defibrillators across the area.
Angela, who works as a community staff nurse and lives in Busby, said: 'Alex had a stent fitted four months before he passed away following a previous cardiac arrest, but following that procedure he'd been in good health and we'd been told there should be no further concerns. The day Alex passed away started as an ordinary day. He'd been out working in the garden and then headed off to golf with my son and son-in-law. He was feeling fine and really looking forward to getting to golf. I then got a call from my son-in-law and I knew immediately that something terrible had happened. I rushed to the golf club to find he'd collapsed whilst out on the course. One of the club's staff was performing CPR on him and I took over and we tried tirelessly for more than 30 minutes, and the club's defibrillator had also been used as we tried to bring him back. The paramedics arrived and continued to work on him for a long time before telling us that he'd passed away and there was nothing more they could do.'
Alex passed away in August 2020, at the height of Covid restrictions, making the months that followed for Angela and the rest of the family even more challenging.
Angela added: 'When Alex passed away everybody in the family was in complete shock for a long time. We came together as a family and supported each other, but as it was during Covid restrictions it made the grieving process even more difficult. Several months after Alex had died, we started to discuss what we could do to keep his memory alive, as well as giving something back to the community. So we decided that we would organise a memorial ball, with all funds raised to be used for installing defibrillators locally. If we can save just one life then it would be absolutely amazing. I felt completely lost when Alex died and the fundraising gave me a focus. Ultimately my aim is to ensure there are as many publicly accessible defibrillators right across East Renfrewshire, with no gaps - as these devices can be life-savers.'
The family held their memorial ball in 2022 and were left "completely gobsmacked" with the £9,000 raised. Work is now ongoing to organise another fundraising event next year, and the family plan to donate all money raised to the Provost's Community Defibrillator Fund.
As well as the Provost's Community Defibrillator Fund being launched, an additional two PADs are already set to be installed at Maidenhill Primary and Kirkhill Primary thanks to fundraising efforts and collaboration between Provost Montague and the schools' Parent Councils.
Once these devices are installed in the coming weeks, it will bring the number of defibrillators at council-owned buildings to 28 and increases the number of machines across East Renfrewshire on the British Heart Foundation database, known as The Circuit, to 82.
The fund will be used to cover the costs of purchasing the devices and external cabinets, installation, and ongoing maintenance over the lifetime of the defibrillator, including a replacement battery and pads. It will also support projects to raise awareness of life-saving skills, including CPR and defibrillator training.
For more information about the Provost's Community Defibrillator Fund, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.