Son of popular Calverley football coach who died after sudden cardiac arrest on holiday fundraises for defibrillators in his memory
The son of a popular Calverley football chairman who died after a sudden cardiac arrest on holiday has helped to fundraise for defibrillators in his memory - believing his dad would still be here if he had access to one.
David Cooper was just 54 years old when he went into cardiac arrest on a family holiday in Portugal in June 2015.
Tragically, David was not within access of a defibrillator and sadly died - leaving behind his loving family of wife Carol, 60, daughter Lauren, 27 and sons Luke, 24 and Edan, 29.
David was a very popular member of the community - he was a chairman and coach at Calverley United Junior Football Club and a huge Bradford City fan.
It is said if a defibrillator is used within the first minute of collapse the survival rate can be as high as 90%.
However with every minute delayed, the chances of survival can decrease by 7 to 10%.
Speaking to the YEP, David's son Luke said he believes they would have had "a very good chance of bringing him back if there was one present" when he collapsed.
Luke said: "This prompted my family and I to start fundraising for defibrillators.
"It is vital that we have these defibrillators in place as soon as possible.
"They will save many lives.
"My plea to people is to see what you can do for wherever you work, whatever school or sports clubs you or your kids go to, wherever your community is and help make sure there is a defibrillator there.
"They will help save lives, potentially yours, your loved ones and people around you."
The first defibrillator bought by the family was for Leeds Esprit Gymnastics Club using donations from David's funeral.
Since then, Luke has ensured Calverley football club has them in place at training and playing venues and carries one himself whenever he coaches his own teams.
His incredible work has ensured a defibrillator has been available within seconds at football matches across West Yorkshire.
Luke's fundraising efforts have been praised across the community and many believe the devices will help save lives in the future.
Luke said: " I organised a memorial match where around 25 lads that my Dad coached at Calverley United turned up to play and raised a lot of money.
"We put the proceeds to buying a defibrillator for me to take to all of my football coaching, as I coach a lot of teams.
"Many fundraising events later we now have got a defibrillator that my brother Edan takes policing with him.
"We have also managed to get two more defibrillators at different sites for Calverley United and one for Calverley C of E Primary School.
"Also, along with many other individuals and community groups, we helped to organise and fundraise for the community defibrillator outside the Calverley Conservative club.
"I now look after this defibrillator alongside Cllr Andrew Carter and keep it in check.
"We have also kept raising funds for the defibrillator’s electrode pads and battery’s that need to replaced every 2-3 years, costing around £300.
"This year alone I have probably spent over £1000 from the fundraising on replacing expired pads and batteries not just for the defibrillators we’ve fundraised for but for others as well, including my teacher training placement school St Josephs Catholic Primary School in Wetherby and Calverley C of E Primary School.
"I have also recently contributed to the battery and pad replacement for Rawdon’s defibrillator too and my best friend is fundraising for a defibrillator at his cricket club as well."
Luke said fundraising has been "tough" during the Covid pandemic but he has not been deterred - raising money to continue his dad's legacy in the community.
He added: "In the third national lockdown earlier this year, we raised over £1500 for my Dad’s defibrillator fund with an ‘Around the World: Run, Bike, Walk’ challenge with many families from the football club getting involved.
Luke has also been very proud to fundraise for other charities during the Covid pandemic with the involvement of his football teams.
He added: "My U14 team raided £1021 for St Gemmas Hospice in the 2020 2.6 challenge and then £663 for the Poppy Appeal in a Poppy Run challenge.
"Most recently we have raised £478 for Breast Cancer Research with the sales of pink and blue hoodies for our girls teams."
Luke's work also coincides with the tragic events surrounding the collapse of Christian Eriksen during Euro 2020.
He said this has given him even more initiative to continue and his efforts are now ramping up due to huge demand.
Luke said: "Since what happened to Christian Eriksen last weekend, one of my main fundraising focuses has returned to making sure defibrillators are there for when people need them.
"I am now in talks with many friends about how they can get a defibrillator set up for their sports club or workplace and I am more than happy to contribute and help fundraise.
"They will help save lives."
David's family has battled many obstacles since his tragic death.
Luke added: "My family will continue to do our best for our community, despite still battling those who have treated us inhumanely and appallingly since my Dad passed away.
"We will continue to fight for justice in what has happened to us and carry on his legacy, in his memory"