South Leeds community rallies behind campaign to buy more life-saving defibrillators

Statistics show every second counts when someone suffers a cardiac arrest.

Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 23rd March 2021, 10:30 pm
Louisa Pouncett, WF3 Kindness Volunteer, and Camille Leach, secretary for West Ardsley Action Group with the defibrillator at the Hare and Hounds in West Ardsley. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

So one south Leeds community will soon be in safer hands after residents rallied behind a campaign to buy potentially life-saving defibrillators to install on their streets.

West Ardsley is on track to have a total of four of the heart-starting devices within a two-mile radius thanks to the success of a local fundraising appeal.

The first was installed around 18 months ago at the Hare and Hounds pub, on Batley Road and has already been used four times in that short period.

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Now a campaign run by local charity WF3 Kindness, which is part of Morley and District Lions Club, and West Ardsley Action Group (WAAG) has smashed its initial target of raising enough money for one more defibrillator - and is just £500 short of being able to buy a further three.

Dan Frank, founder of WF3 Kindness, said: “We have been blown away by the support. People have really got behind it.

“Within five weeks we had covered the cost of the first defibrillator.”

Match funding from some corporate sponsors helped push the total higher, along with a donation from the local councillors’ Outer South Community Committee.

Dan said: “And we thought ‘hang on a minute, we’ve paid for two now’. And then some more donations came in from the community and we thought ‘let’s try one more push to get another’.”

One street raised £150 through a collection and the widow of a local man donated money from his funeral. Dan said he had also been approached in the local supermarket by residents keen to contribute to the cause.

Once the last £500 has been reached, the three new devices - which cost £1,500 each - will be installed at the British Oak pub, on Westerton Road, the New Scarborough on Dewsbury Road and the East and West Ardsley Social Club on Batley Road.

Camille Leach, secretary of WAAG, said the project had been inspired by the teenager Cody Hartley, from nearby Thorpe, who over the years has raised money to buy defibrillators for local schools after hearing a 12-year-old schoolboy who died from an undetected heart condition.

She said the efforts of the local community has been “outstanding”.

“It took a matter of weeks for us to hit the [initial] target. They have been brilliant - and they do tend to be. If we put a call out for help and assistance for something locally, they dig deep. They are a credit.”

And both she and Dan said they will continue to buy more defibrillators if donations keep coming in.

Camille said: “As long as the community want us to and there’s the support there, I don’t see any reason to stop. There’s always a location that we will be able to fit one in.”

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