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State-of-the-art lifesaving equipment installed in leisure facilities

Bedale new defib

The latest lifesaving equipment has been installed at five of North Yorkshire’s leisure facilities.

Defibrillators have been upgraded at Northallerton, Stokesley, Bedale and Thirsk leisure centres as well as the new Sowerby Sports Village near Thirsk.

New training equipment has also been provided as part of the £9,000 scheme to make sure staff have the skills to deal with any emergencies.

Over the past two years, leisure centre staff have provided critical response to three customers that suffered cardiac arrests and defibrillators were used the revive them. One of them, 49-year-old Graham Brown from Bedale, says he owes his life to the quick thinking of the Bedale team.

Mr Brown said: “I was at Bedale Leisure Centre gym with my partner, Soraya, when I went into a sudden cardiac arrest – a visit which was to save my life. My heart and breathing stopped just after centre staff got to me with a defibrillator and their quick thinking meant my heart was restarted quickly. They had to work manually with CPR to get my breathing started again but they managed this before the ambulance crew arrived.

“The consultant in the ICU told Soraya that only the response of the leisure centre staff had saved my life. We were told later that ‘out of hospital’ cardiac arrests have a low survival rate, so it is testament to the skill and training of the leisure centre team and their refusal to quit that not only saved my life but also saved me from severe brain damage.

“My eternal thanks go to all involved that night and since in my ongoing recovery. I hope to get back to the gym in the future, I know I'll be in safe hands!”

North Yorkshire Council’s executive member for leisure, Cllr Simon Myers, said: “This equipment is vital – anything we can do to help save lives is money well spent.  

“I have witnessed at first hand the death of a swimmer in a leisure pool, but this was in the days before defibrillators were available. Had there been one there that day, maybe he might still be alive.

“The latest generation of defibrillators are equipped with state-of-the-art technology and features, making them more effective and easier to use.

“As part of a comprehensive programme of nationally prescribed lifesaving training, our staff have been trained to ensure proper use and maintenance of the equipment.”

- Ends –

Image attached – Cllr Simon Myers at Bedale Leisure Centre with leisure staff (from left) Isla Davidson, Ellie MacArthur, Katie Bramham and Heather Tipping.

Notes to editors

Published: 17th August 2023