A Lancing grandfather has financed the village’s first publicly-funded defibrillator in memory of his late wife, Peggy.
Trevor Attwell wanted to show his gratitude after Peggy’s life was extended by almost 20 years thanks to the expertise of NHS surgeons.
He decided to give back to the community by funding the life-saving machine at Visions Hair Salon in Crabtree Lane as part of a public appeal launched by councillor Joss Loader, chairman of Adur District Council.
Mr Attwell, who has two sons, Mark and Nigel, and two grand-daughters, Katharine and Sophie, got in touch with Ms Loader after reading about her campaign to install defibrillators in publicly accessible places in every town and village in Adur.
He said: “In 1996, my wife’s consultant at Worthing Hospital told us, quite unexpectedly, that we were in a touch-and-go situation.
“That was a massive shock to us both. The consultant arranged an almost immediate operation by heart surgeons at St Thomas’s Hospital.
“Between them, they not only saved Peggy’s life but famously extended it by nearly 20 years.
“My family and I will never be able to repay such a debt but, for me, it’s another opportunity for thanking the NHS and for giving back.
“Defibrillators have a very important role to play in the life-saving process and having access to one could make all the difference for someone – hospital or mortuary.
“The Chairman’s appeal is an excellent scheme. Please be aware and help it expand.”
The Crabtree Lane site was chosen for the equipment, which was match-funded by the Sussex Heart Charity, as it offers a central location, free parking and is opposite Monks Recreation Ground.
Ms Loader said: “I am so grateful to Trevor for stepping in so early and for displaying such generosity and community spirit.
“This has provided a huge boost for my appeal and I am delighted that we have been able to install the defibrillator well before Christmas.”
She thanked the team at Visions Hair Salon and P & H Electrical Systems in Worthing for installing it at cost price.
Ms Loader’s appeal has seen two new defibrillators being installed at The Bridge Inn, Shoreham, and at Emerald Quay on Shoreham Beach, with funding secured for three more – including one in North Lancing.
She said: “I am absolutely amazed and delighted by the early success of this appeal.
“People have been quick to rally round, which is really encouraging and heart-warming, and I am indebted to the Sussex Heart Charity for their generosity and unstinting support.”
Ms Loader launched her community-wide appeal after the success of the Shoreham Beach Residents’ fund-raising drive earlier this year and in memory of her late father, Brian Hollebone.
He died from a sudden and catastrophic heart attack, aged just 49.
She added: “If I can help prevent a similar tragedy striking any other family, I will consider this a job very well done.
“If you have any fund-raising ideas for any location across Adur, please do give me a call on 07838 379599.”
Alternatively, you can email Joss at firstname.lastname@example.org