Heart machines come to sports centres

WHAT a heart!After keen karate fan Kelvin Abbott was rescued by a lifesaving defibrillator when he collapsed in an Ipswich sports centre, borough bosses have today pledged to buy the vital equipment for all their centres.

WHAT a heart!

After keen karate fan Kelvin Abbott was rescued by a lifesaving defibrillator when he collapsed in an Ipswich sports centre, borough bosses have today pledged to buy the vital equipment for all their centres.

There is already a defibrillator, commonly known as a defib, at Crown Pools but now the council plans to invest the cash for machines in all the sports centres in town.

Judy Terry, the council's leisure spokeswoman, said: “I think it is an excellent idea and an excellent campaign.

“We saw what happened to Kelvin Abbott and read about The Evening Star's campaign and as soon as we were back after the New Year we looked into the issue. It is best to be prepared.”

She added that the defibrillators will be paid for by the council which is also putting a bid in to the British Heart Foundation for part of the funding.

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Staff at the centres will have to be trained before they are able to use the machines and the council hopes to have them in place by the end of May.

Following his life-and-death ordeal Mr Abbott backed The Evening Star's Spend a Little, Save a Life campaign and pleaded with the borough to invest in the electric shock machines, known as defibs, which restarted his heart after a heart attack at Maidenhall Sports Centre.

Now the council has responded with a pledge to kit out not just Maidenhall but Whitton, Northgate, and Gainsborough sports centres too.

Today Mr Abbott, 57, of Sprites Lane, Pinewood, Ipswich, said: “It is great news and I'm really pleased about it.

“They are just great for saving lives, as I know. I am feeling a lot better now I am out of hospital and at home, and in a bit I would like to get back to doing karate.

“I will feel a lot more at ease knowing there are defibrillators at the centre when I'm doing exercise.”

Mr Abbott had just finished a karate course on November 20 when he started to feel faint. The next thing he knew he was waking up in hospital a day later.

He later learnt he had suffered a heat attack and trained staff at the centre as well as a nurse had kept his heart beating using CPR until paramedics arrived four minutes later and were able to restart his heart with a defib.

Since then Mr Abbott has undergone a successful double by-pass operation at Papworth Hospital in Cambridgeshire and is back on the road to health.

Mr Abbott is currently organising a clairvoyant evening for April 25 - more details will be available once a venue is confirmed.

Has a defibrillator saved your life? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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