Well-known chef Frank Coughlan took over the kitchens at the Arora Hotel in Crawley to prepare a four-course banquet in aid of Springboard, the hospitality sector’s charity which helps to nurture young unemployed into work.
Crawley Town Mayor Cllr Brian Quinn and his wife Sue were among the guests at Friday night’s charity dinner at the hotel to help Frank, from Horley, raise money and to wish him `bon voyage’ as he sets off this week to join the Springboard annual trek to Vietnam. The chef has already raised around £21,000 for the charity. When he is out in Vietnam, Frank will be helping to rebuild a school in the poor province of Ham Yen.
Back in the UK, the Springboard charity will use this money to support 70 people who face hardship and difficulties, giving them a chance to join one of its life-changing programmes.
“My target was £3,500, but I managed to smash that with thanks to all my friends and supporters within the hospitality sector.
“Friday’s dinner at the Arora Hotel was an amazing finale to what has been quite a journey already. A huge thank you to the Arora and its executive head chef Tony Staples and his team for letting me take over their kitchens and helping to make the night such a success.”
Frank is currently the executive head chef of BaxterStorey, overseeing the BA Lounge contract throughout the UK, but has been head chef at an impressive list of high profile venues in his 30-plus year career, including Wembley Stadium, Arsenal and Chelsea Football clubs and the All England Lawn Tennis Club, and has more than 40 catering awards to his name.
He set himself the Springboard challenge after losing 10 stone in weight, which he said “made me feel 10 years younger”.
Crawley Town Mayor Cllr Quinn told guests at the dinner:
“It is a pleasure to return to the Arora and experience its excellent hospitality once again, and to be here to support Frank – it is so great to see a former pupil of St Wilfrid’s (Crawley secondary school) doing so well.”
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Life-saving heart restarters fitted to over 50 Sussex stations
Amber Rudd MP and Home Secretary attended the opening event to unveil the new life-saving heart restarter at Southern’s Rye station.
Life-saving heart restarters have been fitted to over 50 stations across Sussex through a partnership between The Sussex Heart Charity (SHC) and Southern, owned and operated by Govia Thameslink Railway.
SHC first launched the programme two years ago as part of its 30th anniversary celebrations and has invested £100,000 in the programme.
The Rt Hon Amber Rudd MP helped celebrate the installation of one of the latest at Rye station on Friday (16 March) and heard that, by the summer, there will be an automated external defibrillator (AED) at either every station in the county and border towns or in the local community nearby.
Cardiac patient Steve Morris, whose life was saved by an AED, showed how easy the device is to use in a demonstration in Rye Station waiting room. SHC provided funding for his training and equipment to become a qualified Community Resuscitation Trainer.
Govia Thameslink Railway Chief Operating Officer Nick Brown said:
“This is a fantastic partnership that has the potential to save lives right across the county. Our railways are at the heart of our communities and it’s only right that they have the machinery to aid the hearts of an unfortunate passenger who may suffer a heart attack.”
Dr Rachael James, Consultant Cardiologist and Volunteer Co-Chair of The Sussex Heart Charity said:
“It is essential that defibrillation be administered as soon as possible following the cardiac arrest. If the heart does not return to a regular rhythm within 5-7 minutes, this fibrillation could be fatal. That is why fitting AEDs close by where they may be most needed is so helpful. Providing some form or basic life support (CPR), especially if performed in the first few minutes of cardiac arrest, can double or triple a person’s chance of survival.”
Amber Rudd, MP for Hastings and Rye, said:
“I am delighted to have attended the launch of Sussex Heart Charity’s defibrillator campaign at Rye Station. The charity are doing fantastic work to install automated external defibrillators in train stations throughout Sussex. It is such an important initiative that could help save lives in our towns and I am pleased Rye station has become a part of it.”
The charity has provided the equipment, while GTR teams carried out the installation. The defibrillators are placed on the station where they can be reached by anyone from the village or town they are based in, meaning they can benefit the entire community and not just passengers on board Southern, Gatwick Express and Thameslink stations.
The defibrillators, which can restart a heart that has stopped or is beating arrhythmically due to a cardiac arrest or other condition, are automatic and provide step-by-step voice prompts so they can be used by anyone.
Terry Ayres, Chief Executive Officer at the Sussex Heart Charity, said:
“Projects such as this highlight the value of supporting local charities. We are really grateful to the people of Sussex who take part in our annual sponsored walk – attend our events throughout the year and support us through monthly giving and volunteering – enabling us to develop projects such as this that have a direct impact on them locally.”
Jason Palmer, Volunteer Director and Vice Chair of The Board of Trustees, said:
“I am eternally grateful to our former Chair and Director, Andy Forsyth, for having the faith in me to step up to Vice Chair and taking this project forward under the joint chairmanship of Consultant Cardiologist, Dr Rachel James and Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Mike Lewis.
“This was an initial idea of Ruth Forsyth as part of our 30th anniversary celebrations, a former director and board member of The Sussex Heart Charity, who suggested investigating the possibility of installing a defibrillator at her local Railway Station at Haywards Heath. My former career working for the railway and later central Government, enabled me to be well placed to renew industry and civil service friendships and develop one AED installation at Haywards Heath Station into a countywide project – covering all Sussex railway stations and probably a world first!”