A woman has raised more than £1,000 for a new defibrillator at a garden centre where her husband suffered a fatal heart attack.

Paula Long and her husband Trevor visited Lynch Lane Garden Centre in Weymouth on Sunday, April 16. 

Trevor suffered a sudden cardiac arrest and passed away at Bournemouth Hospital four days later.

The one piece of equipment that Trevor needed was not available; a defibrillator.

When someone suffers a heart attack, or their heart stops beating for some other reason, the sooner CPR is started and they are connected to a defibrillator, the better their chance of survival.

For every minute’s delay, the chance of survival falls by 10 per cent.

Dorset Echo: Paula raises funds for new community defibrillator in Weymouth

Following the incident, Paula – an advanced technician lead with almost 22 years of service with South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) – took it upon herself to raise funds for a new defibrillator to be installed at the site.

With the help of her daughter, Paula set up a JustGiving page and raised more than £1,000, which helped pay for the defibrillator, a plaque to honour Trevor’s memory, and a donation to the Dorset and Somerset Air Ambulance Charity.

The defibrillator and plaque were unveiled at the garden centre, where Paula was joined by members of the Trust’s volunteering and community services team including head of volunteering and community services Jane Whichello, Dorset community responder officer Dave Sale, and assistant community responder officer Hannah Butler.

Jane Whichello said: “An important part of my role is to get as many, easy-to-use defibrillators, in as many easy-to-access locations as possible, and to help ensure that there are people trained to use them and to provide CPR when minutes matter.

“Paula has worked for the ambulance service for almost 22 years, helping us serve the public and save lives.

"I thank Paula for her courage and strength to have raised the money to enable us to place a defibrillator at Lynch Lane Garden Centre and give people, she may never meet, the gift of life.”

If you see someone collapsed and not breathing normally, you need to start CPR to keep the patient alive until help arrives. Emergency Medical Dispatchers will help you with this when you call 999.

It takes a few minutes to learn CPR to help save a life, follow the link below to access content from the British Heart Foundation to learn more in just 15 minutes - https://www.bhf.org.uk/how-you-can-help/how-to-save-a-life/how-to-do-cpr/learn-cpr-in-15-minutes.

It’s important that everyone can access a defibrillator in an emergency. Find your nearest device before you need it by looking at the British Heart Foundation’s Defibfinder.