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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

Brighton Marathon runners ‘on track’ to raise £80k for Chestnut Tree House

Around 12,000 people ran in this year’s Brighton Marathon, many running for various charities. Many ran for West Sussex based charity, Chestnut Tree House & are set to raise an incredible £80k!

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Two Brighton Marathon runners, raising money for Chestnut Tree House. Photo: Matt Pitts

A total of 199 people took part in the Brighton Marathon and BM10k for Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice on Sunday 15 April, and are set to raise a staggering £80,000 for the charity.

Runners from across Sussex and further afield set out from Preston Park on Sunday morning, and were supported by volunteer cheer teams along the route. 97 people ran in the 10k race for Chestnut Tree House and 102 took on the 26.2 mile course.

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The first runner to complete the Brighton Marathon 2018 for Chestnut Tree House was 48 year-old George Miller from Steyning, who ran the course in 3:18:38. It was a double success for George on Sunday, as not only did the first-time marathon runner beat his target time of 3:30, but he raised an incredible £1,120 – smashing his £750 fundraising target!

George Miller finished in a fantastic 3:18:38.

George said he was very proud to be able to represent Chestnut Tree House and is inspired by the amazing work they do for children and young people with life-shortening conditions and their families throughout Sussex.

First time marathon runner, Jaimey Willett. Photo: Matt Pitts

Other Brighton Marathon runners in Team Chestnut included Steve Bird, 39, from Burgess Hill, who ran it in 3:26:28; Chestnut Tree House Trustee, David Pegler, 50, who ran a personal best of 3:35:14; first-time marathon runner Jaimey Willett, 37, from Chichester (4:18:53); and Lee Kemp, who is already planning to run his fourth Brighton Marathon next year.

Lee, 35, said:

“When I visited Chestnut Tree House, I was moved by the care services they offer and inspired by the incredible work they do. The care they provide to local children and families is so important – that’s what I run for.

Lee Kemp is planning to run his fourth Brighton Marathon next year. Photo: Matt Pitts

“I was aiming for under four hours so am delighted with my time of 3:58:19. This was the third time I’ve run the Brighton Marathon for Chestnut Tree House, and I’m already planning to come back next year! The support around the course from the charity really helps encourage me, so I’d like to thank all the volunteers who came out to cheer us all on.”

In the BM10k race, 41 year-old Steve Allen was the first across the finish line for the charity with a time of 38:57.

All runners for Chestnut Tree House were given a warm post-race welcome at the charity’s tent in the Event Village, where they could meet some of the team, refuel, and recover with a complimentary massage from Niki Harrington of Symbiosis.

Steve Bird & his daughter, Amber.

Lauren Gowing, Events Fundraiser at Chestnut Tree House said:

“The event went really well and it was great to meet our runners and congratulate them on their achievement. We feel privileged that so many people chose to run for us. It’s wonderful to see the familiar faces of runners who have supported us for some time, but equally inspiring to meet people who have chosen to support Chestnut Tree House for the first time this year.

“We need to raise £6,850 every day to cover the cost of all Chestnut Tree House’s care services, both at the hospice and in families’ own homes. The £80,000 raised by our Brighton Marathon and BM10k runners will cover our care costs for over 11 days, which is incredible. Ultimately, support like this helps us to continue helping life-limited children across Sussex and South East Hampshire.

“We’d like to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone who ran for us, as well as our supporters and volunteers who helped on the day. Thanks too to the Brighton Mini Club for showing their support during the cavalcade, Symbiosis for offering complimentary massages, and South Downs Water for donating water to our runners.”

Chestnut Tree House will soon have places available for next year’s Brighton Marathon on Sunday 14 April 2019. To find out more visit www.chestnut-tree-house.org.uk/brightonmarathon.

Some of the people running for Chestnut Tree House, pre-race.

Chestnut Tree House opened its doors in 2003 and currently provides care and support to 300 children with life-shortening conditions and their families across Sussex and South East Hampshire – at the hospice and in families’ own homes. The cost of providing this vital service is over £3.5 million per year, yet the hospice receives less than 7% central government funding so relies heavily on the generosity and support of the local community and events like the Brighton Marathon to continue providing vital care to children and families.

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