Left to right: the Chairman of Sidmouth Town Council (STC), Councillor Jeff Turner, Ian Skinner, President of the Lions Club of Sidmouth, East Devon District Councillor David Barratt (ward member for Sidmouth Rural), East Devon Chairman, Councillor Stuart Hughes and Lions Club members Mike Sycamore and Phil Lee

District council, Sidmouth town council and Lions Club work together to ensure new defibrillator is now ready for use in town centre

A new defibrillator unit for the public to use is now ready to start saving lives in the centre of Sidmouth. The new unit, which is attached to the exterior wall of East Devon District Council’s Market Building in Sidmouth’s Market Square, was declared officially ready for use on Wednesday 25 November by East Devon Chairman, Councillor Stuart Hughes, the Chairman of Sidmouth Town Council (STC), Councillor Jeff Turner, East Devon District Councillor and Sidmouth Town Councillor David Barratt (ward member for Sidmouth Rural) and Ian Skinner, President of the Lions Club of Sidmouth.

The Lions Club of Sidmouth generously contributed £1,050 towards the costs of this project, which is the brainchild of Councillor David Barratt and Lions Club member Phil Lee, who were both concerned about the lack of defibrillators accessible by the public in the Sid Valley.

After meetings between Sidmouth Town Council and the Lions Club of Sidmouth, and consultation with East Devon District Council, it was agreed that the Market Building was a suitable central location for the new defibrillator.

Sidmouth Cricket, Tennis & Croquet Club at the Fortfield also has an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED), which has been available for public use since July 2015. This project was initiated and overseen by Elizabeth Peace, a member of the tennis section. An AED was donated by Lee Sowden of QES Electrical, Sidmouth, and the heated box to house it was presented to the club by Sidmouth Town Council. The yellow box is clearly visible on the clubhouse wall facing Fortfield Terrace, and is registered with South West Ambulance Service for public use.

Commenting on the installation of the Market Building defibrillator, Councillor David Barratt said:

“It is great that these two projects have now happened due to cooperation between the Town Council, the District Council, Sidmouth Lions and Sidmouth Cricket, Tennis & Croquet Club. I am particularly delighted that this new defibrillator, together with the Sidmouth Cricket,Tennis &Croquet Club unit, means that Sidmouth now has two Automatic External Defibrillators (AED), which the public can access easily.

“The provision of these defibrillators will at some stage literally save someone's life. The fact is that if a person suffers a sudden cardiac arrest, their chance of survival without defibrillation within six minutes is only 5% - whereas with defibrillation, that survival rate shoots up to 50%.

“The Market Building defibrillator is stored in a box locked by a keypad, which can only be unlocked once a member of the public present has dialled 999. Emergency services will then be dispatched as normal, but the emergency operator will give the key code to allow immediate access to the defibrillator. A sequence of voice commands and screen messages guide any user through the defibrillation process.

“Early in the New Year, the Town Council will arrange a number of familiarisation sessions on the use of defibrillators for any members of the public who are particularly interested. Sidmouth Cricket, Tennis & Croquet Club has already trained over 40 people, along with giving advice on the administering of CPR, which should be part of the first aid.

“This is just a first step in a plan to have these machines available across the whole of the Sid Valley.”

Cllr Stuart Hughes Chairman of East Devon District Council said:
"Thanks go to all those involved especially the Lions Club and Town Council in the provision of the defibrillator unit which could very well be a life saver especially at this festive time of year. This gift to the town could very well prove to be the gift of life as every second counts when dealing with someone having a heart attack."

Ian Skinner, President of the Lions Club of Sidmouth, said:
“The Lions are proud to have contributed towards the costs of this unit. A great deal of hard work has gone into this defibrillator project, which ultimately will benefit both residents and visitors to Sidmouth. A sudden cardiac arrest can ultimately lead to death if it’s not treated within minutes, so an AED can make a vital difference between life and death.”

Commenting on Sidmouth Cricket, Tennis and Croquet Club’s defibrillator project, Club Chairman, Neil Gamble said: “We are grateful to Lee Sowden, Adam Davis and Sidmouth Town Council for their support in this project, which will potentially benefit not only Sidmouth Cricket, Tennis & Croquet Club and those who play sport here, but also the wider community of Sidmouth.”

“It is hoped that this Automatic External Defibrillator (AED), together with the newly commissioned AED in the Market Square, will be of great benefit to residents and visitors in Sidmouth.”