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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.

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Amber Rudd MP and Home Secretary unveils 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.

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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.

Steve Morris demonstrating CPR at Rye station

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.”

Nick Brown, GTR Chief Operating Officer at the AED demonstration

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!”

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Charity

Largest charity Dragon Boat race at Tilgate Park ever!

This year’s festival was the hospice’s biggest ever to date, with more teams than ever before taking to the lake.

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St Catherine’s Hospice annual Dragon Boat Festival returned to Tilgate Park with a splash yesterday (Sunday 9 September), in a fantastic day of free family fun!

Credit: SARA FERMORE AND TOBY PHILLIPS PHOTOGRAPHY.

Teams were made up of local businesses, including Crawley teams: Irwin Mitchell, Elekta, Grant Thornton, UK Power Networks, B&CE, CAE Training & Services, Vines BMW & Mini, Childcare & Learning Cranbrook, Inspiration Healthcare, KPMG, Search, Siemens, Smith & Western, St Catherine’s Hospice, Thales, Virgin Media, Novo Nordisk, and Oriel High School
who battled it out to be crowned Dragon Boat Champions 2018.

Credit: SARA FERMORE AND TOBY PHILLIPS PHOTOGRAPHY.

Speaking on the day, George De Silvo, Corporate Associate from Irwin Mitchell said:

“The Irwin Mitchell team has really enjoyed getting involved with the Dragon Boat Festival. St Catherine’s is our Charity of the Year and so we’ve been raising funds for them since January. Hearing about the Dragon Boat Festival got the whole office excited and motivated to do as much as we can to help such a great cause. I’m so pleased our Noah’s Ark survived!”

Credit: SARA FERMORE AND TOBY PHILLIPS PHOTOGRAPHY.

Ian Watson, Head of Software Engineering at Elekta said,

“We’ve been taking part in Dragon Boats for many years. It’s a big event and brings so many people from local businesses and the local community together for a great cause. What St Catherine’s does resonates a lot with what we do at Elekta, helping people at a moment of need in their lives. The hospice is a great cause to support.”

St Catherine’s team, Credit: SARA FERMORE AND TOBY PHILLIPS PHOTOGRAPHY.

Grant Thornton were another Crawley team competing. Between races, John O’Mahony, Partner at Grant Thornton, said:

“We’re very proud to be associated with St Catherine’s Hospice. They do wonderful work and we’ve had great fun fundraising. Our team ‘Sea’s the Day’ are making great progress during our heats and we’re feeling very optimistic!”

Credit: SARA FERMORE AND TOBY PHILLIPS PHOTOGRAPHY.

Those on the shorelines tried their luck at traditional fête games such as hook a duck and a penalty shootout, whilst younger visitors sprung into action on giant inflatables. Visitors also tucked into tasty food from onsite vendors and enjoyed refreshing drinks from the onsite bar, provided by Sussex Event Bars, who donated a percentage of profits to St Catherine’s.

Credit: SARA FERMORE AND TOBY PHILLIPS PHOTOGRAPHY.

On the lake, teams showed true team spirit as they raced across the water in Chinese Dragon Boats.

DHL team, Credit: Sara Fermore and Toby Phillips Photography.

After a full day of races, DHL Express powered through to be crowned champions, with a winning time of 57 seconds, which was two seconds faster than last year’s winners.

The Elekta Crew, Credit: SARA FERMORE AND TOBY PHILLIPS PHOTOGRAPHY.

Amanda Phelan, Operations Manager at DHL Express, said:

“This is our third year competing and it’s always such a lovely, fantastic day. The second year we took part we came in at second place so we were here to win today. And we’re thrilled we managed it!”

Grant Thornton, Credit: SARA FERMORE AND TOBY PHILLIPS PHOTOGRAPHY.

Close behind, in second place, were Vines Ltd with Vines Beemer taking the third place trophy.

Vines Beemer, Credit: Sara Fermore and Toby Phillips Photography.

Winning teams were presented with medals and trophies by Giles Tomsett, Chief Executive at St Catherine’s, and The Worshipful Mayor of Crawley, Councillor Carlos Portal Castro.

Vines MINIons, Credit: SARA FERMORE AND TOBY PHILLIPS PHOTOGRAPHY.

Vines of Gatwick proudly sponsored the festival, alongside entering two teams. Darren Buche, MINI

Sales Executive at Vines of Gatwick said:

“Every year, we have a fantastic day at St Catherine’s Dragon Boat Festival. It’s been great seeing even more teams competing this year to show their support for the amazing work St Catherine’s does caring for people in the community around us. It’s a fun day out for us as colleagues and it’s brilliant to raise money for such a worthwhile cause. We’re pleased that our efforts will help more people in our community in the future. We’re already looking forward to signing up for next year’s race!”

Credit: SARA FERMORE AND TOBY PHILLIPS PHOTOGRAPHY.

St Catherine’s Dragon Boat Festival is one of the local hospice’s biggest annual fundraisers. The event will help them provide expert end of life care to local terminally ill people and their friends and family, when life comes full circle. Currently, the hospice can only care for one in three people. But with the support of the community at events like Dragon Boats, the hospice wants to make sure that nobody faces death and loss alone.

Credit: SARA FERMORE AND TOBY PHILLIPS PHOTOGRAPHY.

Suzanne Davis, Corporate Fundraiser at St Catherine’s, said:

“We’d like to thank everyone who supported or took part in this year’s Dragon Boat Festival. Your efforts take us a step nearer to reaching everyone who needs us. We hope you all enjoyed the day as much as we did!

UK Power Networks, Credit: Sara Fermore and Toby Phillips Photography.

To find out about future St Catherine’s events, or how you can support the hospice, visit: www.stch.org.uk.

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