Holiday Park funding keeps Norfolk hearts beating

A cheque was presented to the Holt Community First Response team on 29 July - a group of volunteers who assist in emergency situations in north Norfolk before an ambulance can arrive on the scene.

The Holt First Responders have been appealing for help to raise money for extra public ‘heart-start’ machines, or defibrillators, to be installed in remote and rural areas. And say the money raised by Kelling Heath could save lives.

David Hunt, a Holt and Communities First Response volunteer, said; “We are a community based volunteer service and rely on fundraising. It costs around £1,600 to install a new cabinet and heart defibrillator, but these machines make all the difference between life and death for someone suffering a cardiac arrest. The defibrillators are available for public use and can be used by anyone who is first on the scene. An untrained passer-by phones 999 to get a keypad number to release the machine, and uses it on the patient until the emergency services arrive. These first few minutes are crucial and the money raised by Kelling Heath will save lives.”

Mark Durrant, Divisional Manager at Kelling Heath said; “Our employees and customers raised an impressive £3,278.07 through events including a golf day, a holiday home owners’ dance and a retro fete. We also placed charity boxes around the park. So many people got involved and had fun while raising money for such a vital resource.

“We know only too well the importance of these heart machines. A defibrillator was installed at the park in 2007 and within six months was used to save someone’s life. More recently, a Kelling Heath customer Bruce Weightman, suffered a heart attack at the on-site gym in 2009, and the machine was used to keep him alive. We’re glad to say Bruce still keeps fighting fit and remains a familiar face at our gym!”

The money raised will be spent on increasing the number of public defibrillators in rural north Norfolk. Villages near Kelling Heath such as Bodham, near Holt, are being considered for the facility. These areas are so called ‘cardiac arrest black spots’ and are home to a population who would benefit from the service.

David added, “It’s all about buying time in these rural areas. It is vital that the community can take responsibility and intervene to help someone in need in the 20 minutes before the ambulance arrives. A persons’ survival rate decreases approximately 10 per cent for every minute that passes without intervention, so the more we can do to help those in rural, remote areas, the better.”