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Defibrillator available in Ipswich around clock after charity effort

PUBLISHED: 12:24 31 January 2018 | UPDATED: 12:37 31 January 2018

Jayne Biggs and daughter Violet with Ipswich's first town centre defibrillator. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Jayne Biggs and daughter Violet with Ipswich's first town centre defibrillator. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The first public defibrillator to be available around the clock in the heart of Ipswich has been unveiled after a fundraising effort by Lloyds Bank and its customers.

Staff from Debenhams and Lloyds Bank celebrate Ipswich's first town centre defibrillator. Picture: GREGG BROWNStaff from Debenhams and Lloyds Bank celebrate Ipswich's first town centre defibrillator. Picture: GREGG BROWN

The new defibrillator was unveiled by Jayne Biggs who set up the Heart 2 Norfolk charity to campaign for and organise the introduction of the life-savers after her daughter Violet suffered a cardiac arrest at the age of seven.

The new defibrillator is on one of the pillars outside Debenhams fronting on to the Cornhill and was bought and fitted after staff and customers of the nearby branch of Lloyds Bank raised £1,300.

It was fitted free by local electrical company Engie and is accessed by tapping in a security code.

The code can be obtained by dialling 999 – and if anyone rings asking for access to the machine an ambulance will be sent at the same time. However in the hands of a trained first-aider the instant access to the machine could be vital.

Mrs Biggs said: “I am delighted to get the first public defibrillator installed in Ipswich – it is the first to be available 24/7. There are some in shops and offices but they are only available when they are open.”

Violet, now 12, was with her to help unveil the equipment. Mrs Biggs added: “When Violet collapsed we had to do CPR until the ambulance crew arrived and it became clear how important it was to act quickly.”

She took up the cause and has seen defibrillators installed in Great Yarmouth, elsewhere in Norfolk, in Lowestoft – and this is the first in Ipswich. A second could follow soon at the Tower Ramparts bus station – a fundraising effort backed by Ipswich Mayor Sarah Barber is under way.

Lloyds Bank manager Mark Burton said customers had been quick to see the value of the fundraising campaign – and staff had taken part in a number of events to raise the money needed in a short period of time.

He said: “This is a very worthy project – when Jayne approached us we were very keen to help.”

Debenhams manager Neil Roberts was delighted to offer the space outside the store – and for the fitting to be connected to its power supply: “Something like this needs to be in a prominent place. This is somewhere obvious and people should be able to find it.”

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