Campaign aims to save lives in Hartlepool schools

Students from Eldon Grove Academy with the defibrillator, representatives from Defibs 4 Hartlepool, and Lee Knight, back centre.
Students from Eldon Grove Academy with the defibrillator, representatives from Defibs 4 Hartlepool, and Lee Knight, back centre.

A school is helping to save lives by joining a Hartlepool campaign to put defibrillators into schools.

Eldon Grove Academy has become the latest to sign up for the project called Defibs 4 Hartlepool.

PE teacher Lee Knight took up the chance to get involved after reading in the Hartlepool Mail how another school had already signed up.

It led to the school being given half the cost towards a defibrillator as well as the training needed.

Today, the school’s well-informed students explained why it was so important to be in a position to potentially save lives.

Evie Baker, from the school council, said: “If a person suffers a cardiac arrest the rate of survival is dependent upon time. The quicker the intervention, the better the out-come.”

Head boy Isaac Organ said: “Brain death starts after three minutes, so urgent action is needed, particularly in rural areas where it can take several minutes to get a competently-trained person to the scene.

Jack Callaghan from the school council said: “Defibrillators can be at the scene in a matter of minutes,” while head girl Isabelle Merrifield-Burke said: “The survival rate with cardiopulmonary resuscitation alone is 5%. With defibrillation it is 50%.”

The group Defibs 4 Hartlepool is hoping to raise funds to buy automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in an attempt to improve the survival rates of children who suffer cardiac arrests.

As many as 270 children die in the UK each year after having a sudden cardiac arrest at school.

Mark Rycraft, who has helped to set up the group, believes the equipment could prove vital, and has urged schools in the area to buy an AED.

He told Community Centres that Clavering Primary School, in Clavering Road, was among the first to benefit from the project and Mr Knight at Eldon Grove read that story in the Hartlepool Mail.

“It is because of the Mail that Lee Knight found out about this. We contributed 50 per cent of the cost of the defibrillator and associated training and we were very proud to be able to do that.

“We have been instrumental in getting defibrillators in to schools to help save lives,” said Mr Rycraft, the manager at the Middleton Grange Shopping Centre.

Shopping centre security staff Adam Goodwin, Ray Hughes and Paul Foster are backing the cause and have formed the project with Mr Rycraft.

Mr Rycraft also urged other schools to follow suit and get in touch.

He added: “If the requirement is there, we shall continue to fundraise to get defibrillators in to schools.”

Schools which are interested in finding out more about Defibs 4 Hartlepool should email