Ex-paramedic helps Worthing Leisure Centre save lives

Presentation of the AEDs at Worthing Leisure Centre, May 2011. 'Left to right standing: Peter Davis and Trisha Cooper from Worthing Community First Responders, Paramedic and responder team leader James Schmidt, Technician Wendy Hughes, Jon Burgess, leisure centre duty manager Dave North, Richard Williams, Paramedic Ian Stringer, Community Responders Pam and Nigel Schmidt, SECAmb Unison officers Roger and Mary Laxton'Bottom row (sitting down left to right) ' John's wife Lisa Burgess with Emilia Williams and Jon's daughter Taylor Burgess.
Presentation of the AEDs at Worthing Leisure Centre, May 2011. 'Left to right standing: Peter Davis and Trisha Cooper from Worthing Community First Responders, Paramedic and responder team leader James Schmidt, Technician Wendy Hughes, Jon Burgess, leisure centre duty manager Dave North, Richard Williams, Paramedic Ian Stringer, Community Responders Pam and Nigel Schmidt, SECAmb Unison officers Roger and Mary Laxton'Bottom row (sitting down left to right) ' John's wife Lisa Burgess with Emilia Williams and Jon's daughter Taylor Burgess.

WORTHING Leisure Centre now has new, vital pieces of life-saving equipment thanks to the fund-raising efforts of a former paramedic.

The Shaftesbury Avenue-based centre has been fitted with Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs), which are able to deliver a shock to restart a person’s heart after they have suffered a cardiac arrest.

Richard Williams, human resources manager for South East Coast Ambulance (SECAmb), started the fund-raising and awareness campaign after he had to perform life-saving CPR on 43-year-old Jon Burgess, who suffered a heart attack during a football match at the centre in October last year.

Richard was off-duty when Jon collapsed and was called over to help by his teenage daughter Emilia.

But, he said, he was surprised to find that, although a crowd had developed around Jon, nobody had started CPR.

So, he decided to start the JB Save a Life campaign, which included providing CPR training at the leisure centre earlier this year, and raising money to buy the AEDs as well as airway face masks.

He also raised £440, which he presented to the Worthing Community First Responder scheme earlier this year.

Fortunately, Jon, from Bognor, made a good recovery and attended last week’s presentation of the AEDs with his wife, Lisa, and daughter, Taylor.

Richard said: “It just wouldn’t have been possible to achieve the volume of life-saving training and fund-raising without the support from of the volunteers in the Worthing Community First Responder scheme as well as the help of my colleague, responder operations manager, Malcolm Legg. Defibrillators are a vital piece of life-saving equipment and the additional money for the scheme will help support the amazing work the members carry out in the community.

“I’d like to thank everyone who donated, particularly the pupils from Aldingbourne Primary School in Westergate, which Jon’s daughter Taylor attends.”