Banbridge Town FC and Banbridge Amateur Swimming Club have a weight off their minds after being presented with life-saving equipment.
Defibrillators, which are used to resuscitate someone in the event of a cardiac arrest and are now vital equipment for all sports facilities, were donated to both clubs this month.
Banbridge Town had to make a contribution of just £100 to their debrillator, presented by the Craigavon Cardiac Care Association, who donated to 13 clubs throughout the ABC area.
Banbridge ASC, meanwhile, benefitted from a donation by Belfast based firm HeartSine, who make the equipment.
Town President Andrew Cully was delighted to receive their equipment.
“It’s something that we have been trying to get for many years as a club,” he said. “It’s so important to have one on site for matches and for training nights.
“Hopefully we never have to use it but it’s very important to have. Craigavon Cardiac Care Association initiated the process and we’re delighted to be among the clubs to benefit from it. We are very much indebted to the Association who worked with us to make it happen.
“We received training in how to use the defibrillator and will now hope to cascade that out to other people.
“We’re very keen to help raise the awareness in the local area and hope that other sports clubs can benefit.”
Banbridge ASC’s Mary McGeown is also a school nurse at St Colman’s in Newry. She teaches her sixth form students how to use the equipment and will now be spreading her knowledge through the local club.
“One of our students won a competition with Heart Sine and through talking to them, I asked them to sponsor the club and they offered us a defibrillator, which I was delighted to accept,” she said.
“It’s just so important for us to have one and now I’ll be able to teach everyone at the club how to use it. HeartSine actually supplied a defibrillator to Air Force One so it’s good to see a local company doing well.”
The other recipients of the equipment from the CCA were Annagh United, Bourneview Mill FC, Masonic Recreation Club, Portadown, Dungannon Free Presbyterian Church, Portadown Ladies’ Hockey Club, Markethill Swifts FC, St John’s Parochial Centre, Garvaghy Road, St Patrick’s Church, William Street, Thomas Street Methodist Church, St Mark’s Church of Ireland, Portadown Scout Hall, Mahon Road and Lurgan Bowling and Tennis Club.
The CCCA’s donations arrived after Rodney Wiggins, honorary secretary of CCCA for the past six years, said the charity’s annual Christmas draw is so well supported that the committee had decided two years ago to thank the community by supplying different groups with the defibrillators.
He explained that the machines are a vital piece of equipment but that many organisations, especially the smaller ones, can’t afford them.
Said Rodney, “They are very simple machines to use, they give you step-by-step instructions. If someone collapses the first thing to do is call 999. Then you put the defibrillator pads on and the machine assesses the heart rhythm and whether the person needs a shock or not. If they don’t, the machine won’t let you deliver a shock.
“If they do, you press the shock button and then do cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to the chest.”
According to the British Heart Foundation, after a cardiac arrest, every minute without CPR and defibrillation reduces someone’s chance of survival by 10 per cent.
Rodney added, “They need to be positioned somewhere readily accessible as time is of the essence when someone suffers a cardiac arrest.”