A note from the Chair of Trustees
I have, reluctantly, been convinced by my fellow trustees to write this foreword explaining who I am and why I started Droitwich AED in August last year. Reluctantly, because I don’t think that who I am is important, and the “Why?” is I believe self explanatory. There are over twenty-five Droitwich townspeople a year dying from Out of Hospital Cardiac Arrests (OHCAs) who could be saved if they received prompt CPR and defibrillation! That statistic speaks for itself as far as I am concerned, but here goes anyway. (p.s. If you think this foreword is a load of rubbish and unnecessary please use the contact page to lets us know. I can then delete it!!) (p.p.s. It’ll be interesting to see if that statement reaches the web site! Over to you Leigh and Spence!!)
I joined St John’s Ambulance Brigade as a cadet over 56 years ago, and spent about ten very happy years running around South Wales having a whale of a time, as any kid does in any youth organisation. Sometimes creating a bit of havoc and occasionally even doing some good!
Cadet became cadet leader, adult member, and trainer. Then life got in the way. I joined Woolworths as a trainee manager. They had this strange idea that, as Saturdays were the busiest days of the weeks, the management team should be on the salesfloor, not covering football matches or school fetes etc with SJAB! They moved the management trainees around the country every couple of years to get experience of different stores and managers, and once you were promoted to store manager they again moved us around the country as we were promoted to larger stores. This is how I ended up working in Birmingham in November 1992, with wife and two boys once again dragged along kicking and screaming behind me, moving into our house in Droitwich the week before Christmas 1992. (My wife still talks about that!)
Two years later, about ten days before Christmas 1994, I was involved in an interesting incident with a shoplifter and a knife, and decided that it was time for a career change. We all knew that Woolworths was being asset stripped and we were all heading towards redundancy. I reasoned it wasn’t worth waiting if I wasn’t going to live to see it! But if I did leave, what then?
I have always enjoyed training, both in St Johns and as part of my management role, so in May 1995 left to set up a training company. So then spent the next twenty years again charging around the country causing a bit of havoc, occasionally doing some good again, only now being paid for it!
I semi retired about three years ago when my first aid certificate ran out, and at that time helped set up and run the Droitwich Foodbank warehouse. Last year I hit the big 65 and thought, “What Now?” My first thought was to return to St John’s again training the cadets, but before doing that I obviously needed to retrain to ensure my qualifications and knowledge were up to date. During that retraining we covered use of Automated External Defibrillators, which I’d never done before, in the past it was always a separate course.
That’s when my managerial side kicked in, and I started asking the “What If?” questions. “What if someone has an OHCA on a Saturday afternoon in Droitwich, where can you get an AED in time to save them?” We didn’t have any 24/7 Community Public Access Defibrillators (CPADs)!
I started looking into the statistics available from the NHS, The Resuscitation Council, and the British Heart Foundation as well as Googling other sources. The more I learnt about OHCAs and Ambulance Response times, the more frightening it became. I went over to Redditch to talk to the Charlotte and Craig Saving Hearts Foundation, and over to Malvern to talk to Heartstart Malvern, two similar organisations. I decided that SJAB didn’t need me, but just possibly the twenty-five people dying unnecessarily every year in Droitwich did! The Droitwich Standard kindly ran an article about me at the time, describing this as my “Eureka Moment” when I launched Droitwich AED.
What a difference a year makes!
A year ago now Droitwich AED was just an idea I had, it didn’t exist and had no assets, Droitwich didn’t have any CPADs.
Now Droitwich AED is a registered charity, and there are already four CPADS out in location. There should be eight before the end of August, and at least ten by the end of 2017, all thanks to your support without which none of this would have happened.
On behalf of the Trustees, Leigh Allen, Jane Dale and I, thank you all for that kind and generous support. With your continued support we eventually aim to have CPADs sited about half a mile apart throughout Droitwich, at which stage nobody should be more than a quarter of a mile from one in an emergency.
When we achieve that you will all have made a difference, you will be regularly helping to save lives.
Chair of Trustees
27th July 2017