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New defibrillator lifeline for Ipswich town centre as campaigners reveal public can’t access vital equipment when shops close

PUBLISHED: 17:52 22 November 2017 | UPDATED: 18:17 22 November 2017

Ipswich mayor Sarah Barber

Ipswich mayor Sarah Barber

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Campaigners shocked by the news that there are no publicly accessible defibrillators in Ipswich town centre once shops shut are taking matters into their own hands.

Jayne Biggs, right, has raised funds for defibrillators across north Suffolk and Norfolk. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Jayne Biggs, right, has raised funds for defibrillators across north Suffolk and Norfolk. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Charity founder Jayne Biggs and the town’s mayor Sarah Barber are working together on a new project which aims to encourage shops, schools and other town centre businesses to install the life-saving equipment.

Street pastors in the town raised fears after dialling 999 in an emergency and discovering they did not know where their nearest defibrillator was.

Now they have enlisted the help of Norfolk mother Ms Biggs, whose daughter Violet’s heart stopped for several minutes when she was seven.

Thanks to the quick efforts of paramedics, she was shocked back to life with a defibrillator and survived.

Jayne Biggs of Heart 2 Heart. Picture: GEORGE RYAN Jayne Biggs of Heart 2 Heart. Picture: GEORGE RYAN

The Heart 2 Heart Norfolk campaigner said: “I was quite shocked to find out that there were no defibrillators in Ipswich once the shops close.

“They can save lives – and if people know where they are, they’re much better prepared when they dial 999 because they can find their nearest defib and perform life-saving actions before paramedics arrive.

“I was speaking to quite a few street pastors as well through the mayor, and Lloyds Bank who can’t put one on their building because it is listed.

“They were absolutely gobsmacked and so are helping us to raise money for one.

“They cost around £1,350 for a defibrillator and cabinet and require so little maintenance.”

The mayor, who is also a nurse, has a personal connection to the project – her father died of a heart attack 25 years ago.

She said: “It is concerning to know there aren’t any defibrillators available to the public when the shops close, obviously there is that provision when they are open but we certainly need more after hours.

“It’s something that saves lives, and is vital for us to have in Ipswich town centre.

“My dad died of a heart attack 25 years ago so it is something I think about a lot, and as a nurse as well I obviously have a bit of a personal connection to it.”

The pair are in talks with a major town centre retailer who have registered their interest.

Lloyds Bank bosses will be on the Cornhill fundraising with the mayor and Ms Biggs on Friday.

Are you surprised at the news? Share your views in the comments below or email Star Letters.

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