Opinion

Heart problems? Help will be no more than 400 metres away in this village

Community raises the £11,000 needed to install several defibrillators

I want to give a big shout out to the community of Aylesham between Canterbury and Dover. Their bold ambition to deliver extensive defibrillator cover across the village is now being achieved.

Defibrillator points are in the process of being installed throughout Aylesham and will be spaced so no area will be further than 400 metres from one of these lifesaving devices, as recommended by the South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAMB).

The project has been led by the Aylesham 4 Aylesham Forum. Team member, and parish council chair, Mark Townsend explains: “Twelve-and-a-half years ago I became a community responder in Aylesham. From day one the support I received from residents and those living in the neighbouring villages was amazing. During my time of service, I have attended many heart-related incidents with some having a very sad ending.

This, unfortunately, is not uncommon in the UK. “The survival rate in the UK without early defibrillator intervention is around 6%. This, however, increases to around 74% if effective CPR and defibrillation are used. With this in mind, the scheme was born in my head.”

Commemorative statue showing Aylesham’s history of mining. Picture: Nick Smith

Thanks to a fantastic group of people on the Aylesham 4 Aylesham Forum, and incredible support from the community and local businesses, the village has reached its £11,000 target.

“The first defibrillator cabinet has been fitted in Cornwallis with several more to follow soon. The parish council gave us the final grant that allowed us to reach our total in less than 12 months.”

The fundraising campaign is not over yet. Mark says: “For us to deliver this scheme is an incredible effort by all, but we are not finished. We are now looking at Snowdown and Listways Cottages to give them the same level of cover.”

The group has a GoFundMe page here.

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David Buckley

Dave Buckley is a career journalist. “I once went painting girders for a week and discovered I didn’t like heights,” he says. “Apart from that it has always been journalism for me in one form or another.” Past local weekly publications he has worked for include: the South-East London Mercury* covering the Borough of Greenwich as a junior reporter; Orpington-based News Shopper as a sub-editor; and the Kent Messenger when based in Larkfield, Maidstone, as deputy chief sub-editor. He has also worked for the following dailies/nationals: Daily Express, Today*, News of the World* and Hong Kong Star*. All those marked with an asterisk no longer exist (trend emerging?). He owned and edited a Thailand-based property magazine before returning to England and currently works as a production editor on a car fleet magazine. His first foray into property ownership saw him move from London to Rainham (the Gillingham, Kent, variety). He has subsequently lived in Chislehurst, Petts Wood and Orpington in the Borough of Bromley (which he still regards as being in Kent). In more recent years he owned three different properties on the Kings Hill (West Malling) development.

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