Dorchester club takes life-saving defibrillator to heart

Dorset Echo: Former Dorchester Bowls Club president Sylvia Lawley, right, with members of the Red Cross Jenny Langdon, left, and Tina Davison and the defibrillator machine Buy this photo » Former Dorchester Bowls Club president Sylvia Lawley, right, with members of the Red Cross Jenny Langdon, left, and Tina Davison and the defibrillator machine

A BOWLS club is hoping a new piece of medical kit will save lives on the green.

Members of the Dorchester club gathered to receive training on how to use the defibrillator, after spending a year fundraising to buy it.

Former president of the club Sylvia Lawley, 72, suggested that proceeds from the club’s 2011-2012 fundraising season be used to purchase the machine after seeing one in action on holiday in Australia.

She said: “I was visiting a bowling club and playing with one of the members. All of a sudden, he just stopped and sat down.

“We called for an ambulance, and they had a defibrillator, and managed to get his heart beating again before taking him to hospital. It was a real eye-opener for me.”

Red Cross volunteer Tina Davison attended the event to give training, with another volunteer and member of the bowls club, Jenny Langdon on hand to give assistance.

Members practiced using the device on dummies.

Mrs Lawley’s husband Colin, also 72, said he hopes the device will provide ‘reassurance’ to members.

“Of course, you hope you are not going to have to use it, but on the basis that we are predominantly of an older age group, I think it will be an asset to the club and a reassurance to many.”

He added: “It’s very simplistic to use and the training has given us the ability to give assistance.”

The club hopes the move will encourage more groups to think about buying a defibrillator.

Mrs Lawley said: “A member of another bowls group saw the notice advertising the training evening, and I know he took the idea back to this own group, so that’s nice.

“The bowls club does cater for around 60 to 80 year olds, and we are proud that we offer a sort of social service for people.”

She added: “In an emergency, time is really of the essence. If you’ve got your own defibrillator you can use it before the ambulance arrives, saving precious minutes.

“It’s an important part of saving someone’s life.”

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