'I think everywhere should have one' - Pre-school install defibrillator

Harry Dack and Owen Hayfield from Austwick Berry arrived at Heathlands Community Preschool with the defibrillator on Friday.

Harry Dack and Owen Hayfield from Austwick Berry arrived at Heathlands Community Preschool with the defibrillator on Friday. - Credit: Heathlands Community Preschool

The mum of a young heart patient has inspired a pre-school to install a defibrillator on its grounds. 

The team at Heathlands Community Preschool made the decision after their colleague Claire Bostock shared how her son Oliver underwent three operations on his heart by the age of three. 

Working with Austwick Berry estate agents, the company donated a defibrillator which arrived at the Rushmere St Andrew pre-school on Friday.

It’s something we have never thought about in the past,” said Hannah Randall, setting manager. 

Owen Hayfield and Harry Dack spent some time chatting with the two- to four-year-olds of Heathlands Community Preschool

Harry Dack, left, and Owen Hayfield, right, spent some time chatting with the two- to four-year-olds of Heathlands Community Preschool, who have been learning all about the heart. - Credit: Heathlands Community Preschool

“And then Claire started with us a year ago, and hearing her story and what she has been through, and really understanding just how important all of this is, it has been a real eye-opener.” 

Claire Bostock is one of the early years practitioners at Heathlands. 

“My little boy was born in 2011,” Claire explained. “He has a severe heart condition. It’s life-limiting and palliative.” 

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Oliver was born with hyperplastic right heart syndrome and pulmonary arteria with ventricular spectrum. This means that only the left side of Oliver’s heart had developed. 

“He has half a heart,” Claire continued. “He had an operation at two days old, and then he had open heart [surgery] at nine months old, and then open heart at three.” 

Owen Hayfield and Harry Dack spent some time chatting with the two- to four-year-olds of Heathlands Community Preschool

Harry Dack, left, and Owen Hayfield, right, spent some time chatting with the two- to four-year-olds of Heathlands Community Preschool, who have been learning all about the heart. - Credit: Heathlands Community Preschool

Becoming a ‘heart’ parent has made Claire passionate about having defibrillators in place, and making sure people are properly trained in giving CPR. 

“I’m passionate about getting them into schools as well. I think everywhere should have one,” said Claire. 

Oliver is now preparing to start high school this September, something Claire hadn't thought would be possible.

This has been, she said, a journey that has left her feeling incredibly proud of her son - “and a bit emotional!” 

The life-saving device will be placed outside, so it can be used by the community as well as the preschool. 

Owen Hayfield and Harry Dack, from the estate agents, arrived on Friday to present the defibrillator. 

Claire has been in contact with the team for some time, and the company had previously donated defibrillators to Cedarwood and Gorseland primary schools. 

“They spent some time chatting with the children, and then the children sang a song.” said Claire.  

“We’ve been doing heart week this week. We’ve been learning about stethoscopes and how the heart works. 

“The children listened to their hearts, and we talked about heathy eating and exercise, how the heart has blue blood and red blood."