A BEREAVED dad has completed a 950-mile cycle ride through England and Scotland to support his campaign to buy defibrillators for schools.
Antony Reid, 44, lost his son Tom to Sudden Arrythmic Death Syndrome (SADS) in September 2009 after the 19-year-old collapsed from a previously undetected heart condition.
Since his death, Antony and his wife Halina have raised thousands of pounds for charities including Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) and SADS UK, as well as setting up their own campaign to buy defibrillators for schools in Leeds.
Antony, from Garforth, took on the bike ride from John O’Groats to Land’s End to raise funds for the campaign, with schools now able to buy the defibrillators at a subsidised rate.
He said: “The cycle ride was approximately 950 miles and took me 12 days to complete. I was solo, unsupported and camped most nights.
“The cycle ride was my tribute to Tom and a fundraising event for our campaign.
“The cycle ride raised £4,100 and we are now offering secondary schools in Leeds the chance to have a defibrillator heavily subsidised if they are able to contribute towards one by having a single fundraising event.
“I would especially like to thank Springfield Healthcare Group for being my main sponsor, and also Garforth Golf Club, East Garforth Fish and Chip Shop, TWS Ltd and other local businesses, who all made significant contributions.
“A special thank you to the residents of Garforth who contributed to my £1 appeal. The response was overwhelming.”
Tom, a former pupil at Garforth Academy, was celebrating his university’s fresher’s week in London when he collapsed suddenly in a nightclub.
The teenager was not treated with a defibrillator, but if one of the devices had been available, his life may have been saved.
Antony and Halina have joined forces with First Medical Training, which is supplying the cut-price defibrillators, and Mount St Mary’s was the first school to sign up to the scheme.
Schools are asked to hold their own events to raise some money towards the devices, with full training given to staff at any school who buys one.
For more details about Defibs4Schools, or to donate, visit www.defibs4schools.org.uk.