Devices that can save the lives of heart attack victims have been installed in three County Durham villages.

Defibrillators – machines that deliver electric shocks to get the heart working again – can now be found in and around Coxhoe, Kelloe and Croxdale. The defibrillators can be used by ordinary members of the public and are easy to operate.

Councillors Stuart Dunn and Maura McKeon worked together with the village parish councils to get the defibrillators installed.

The campaign to install the machines was started by Nicola Dodsworth, who is the secretary of Coxhoe Village Hall. Nicola began the campaign after a friend, Gemma Robson, died from a heart attack.

Nicola said, “Unfortunately, the idea was born out of a tragedy. Gemma, who I had known for a lot of years, sadly passed away after suffering a heart attack in the local pub.”

“The devastation to Gemma’s friends and family was there for all to see and I thought about what we could do as a community to help prevent such a sad loss in the future.”

Cllr Dunn and Cllr McKeon each donated £2,854 to the scheme from their neighbourhood budgets. Contributions also came from the parish councils of the three villages and from local companies.

Nicola continued, “I was delighted with the response from the local community, the parish council, county council and some of the businesses who freely donated towards something we all hope we never need.”

“I am pleased for the community that we have been able to provide this life critical support, which may save someone’s life.”

The defibrillators have been placed near facilities frequently used by village residents and sporting clubs. Such facilities include Croxdale Community Centre, Quarrington Hill and District Social Club, Kelloe Working Men’s Club, and Coxhoe Village Hall.

The parish councils aim to organise training – with support from the North East Ambulance Service – at a future date. However, the machines are straightforward to operate and can be used by people who have received no training at all.

The coordinator of Spennymoor Area Action Partnership (AAP), Michael Wilkes, said, “Spennymoor AAP is really proud to support this project.”

“Providing this lifesaving piece of equipment for our communities is something which we want to promote and continue to raise awareness of.”

“We need to ensure that our residents know where the defibrillators are. However, it is just as important to know that this equipment is easy to use and there should be no hesitation in any of us using them.”

(The featured image shows Cllr Dunn, Cllr McKeon and Nicola Dodsworth in front of one of the defibrillators.)

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