A CAMPAIGN to raise awareness about the risks of strokes devised by a Dorchester paramedic is hoping to tackle the ‘silent killer’ of high blood pressure.

‘Do You Know Your Blood Pressure?’ events in Dorchester and across the region this weekend will see volunteers from the South Western Ambulance Service and the Stroke Association on hand to offer free blood pressure checks – with high blood pressure the single biggest risk factor for strokes.

The campaign, the idea of newly-appointed deputy clinical director for the South Western Ambulance Service NHS Trust Adrian South, began locally last year and proved such a success it will now be taken up across the country.

On Saturday there were events taking place across the South West – including at Tesco in Dorchester.

The sessions will also see ambulance clinicians checking people’s pulses for irregular heart rhythms and teaching people about the FAST test – which stands for face, arm, speech test to educate people about how to recognise stroke symptoms.

Mr South, who lives in Dorchester, said he came up with the idea for the scheme while sitting on a train up to London.

“There was an existing campaign that had run for a while but it had been quite small scale and only checked people’s blood pressure,” he said.

“I thought we could combine all three different things and get a much better campaign going.”

Last year the scheme ran as a pilot, with 25 events seeing 150 ambulance staff and volunteers checking nearly 2,000 people.

For more information about the Know Your Blood Pressure events visit www.swas.nhs.uk/kybp