Defibrillator appeal: Staff’s charity effort brings home the bacon

Supporting the coffee morning fundraiser at Fred Elliott Butchers are, from left, Manager Philip Gribbon, Jo-Anne Dobson MLA, Alex Barr, Cody Barr, Cllr Glenn Barr and Kelly Bleakney.

Supporting the coffee morning fundraiser at Fred Elliott Butchers are, from left, Manager Philip Gribbon, Jo-Anne Dobson MLA, Alex Barr, Cody Barr, Cllr Glenn Barr and Kelly Bleakney.

Staff at a Banbridge butchers have thanked generous suppliers and customers who’ve helped them raise more than £2,000 for the purchase a piece of life-saving equipment.

The money will be used by staff at Fred Elliot Family Butchers and Deli to buy a defibrillator - a device that could help save the life of someone who suffers a cardiac arrest - for the shop.

Officer worker Kelly Bleakney, who has been helping to run the fundraising appeal alongside shop manager Philip Gribbon, explained how staff at the shop held two coffee mornings on Friday and Saturday, handing out homemade tasty treats and teas and coffees to customers in exchange for donations towards the defibrillator fund.

She thanked all those who have donated to the appeal, particularly the shop’s suppliers and customers, who have helped raise more than £2,000.

The money raised will also help pay for some of the shop’s more than 30 staff to undergo training in using the defibrillator.

“It’s been amazing. There’s still more money to come in, but we’re well on the way to raising what we need,” Kelly explained.

“I really can’t believe the generosity of people. It’s not just been a few pence, people have been donating fivers and tenners. It’s really incredible just how much we’ve raised.”

Staff at the shop are now working with Banbridge Clinic and carrying out some research before deciding which make and model of defibrillator to purchase for the shop.

“The defibrillator will be inside the shop, but if we raise enough money we will certainly look at buying a second one and putting it on the wall outside the shop or across the road somewhere where people can access it,” Kelly added.

Upper Bann MLA Jo-Anne Dobson, who called in to the shop on Saturday morning to show her support for the fundraiser, said: “I commend everyone at Freddie’s - a life-long Banbridge business - for embarking on this important life-saving campaign.

“Special praise should go to manager Philip Gribbon who is putting his heart and soul into the fundraising campaign and to Kelly Bleakney who was serving up some lovely buns on Saturday morning.”

The Ulster Unionist Party representative added: “This life-saving initiative is a prime example of a local business giving back to the people of Banbridge - well done to everyone involved.”

Anyone who would like to show their support the fundraiser can still do so by calling in to the Bridge Street shop and making a donation.