Star helps to save lives

THEY are learning to save lives.

Rebecca Lefort

THEY are learning to save lives.

First aid staff at Ipswich Borough Council's sports centres are being given special tuition on how to use vital defibrillators today.

The importance of the heart restarting machines became clear after one was used by paramedics to save karate fan, Kelvin Abbott, who collapsed at Maidenhall sports centre in November.

Without a defib the 57-year-old might not have survived, yet today he is feeling better than ever and enjoying his karate again.

Following on from Mr Abbott's experience, and the launch of The Evening Star's Spend a Little, Save a Life campaign to get defibs in Ipswich's busiest places, the council pledged to install them at Maidenhall, Whitton, Gainsborough and Northgate.

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Today they are in place and ready to be used.

Mr Abbott, of Sprites Lane, Pinewood, said he was thrilled at the news.

He said: “I'm really pleased about it. I am a lot better and I'm back training and hoping to go back to work. I'm doing things I couldn't do before!

“I am buzzing at the moment and I know that the defib saved me, so it is great to see them in the sports centres.”

The equipment was purchased thanks to the British Heart Foundation, the Gainsborough Sports Centre Cardiac Class and the borough council.

Judy Terry, the council's sports and leisure chief, said: “We think this is essential for all our customers.

“While we hope they will never be needed, we will now be more able to cope with emergencies. We are grateful to the British Heart Foundation and the class at Gainsborough who have done a magnificent job in raising money.”

- Kelvin Abbott is raising money to buy a defibrillator for Chantry Leisure Centre. He will be holding an event at the Ransomes Sports and Social Club on June 27. For more information call 01473 687438.