Can you help junior football team raise money for life-saving defibrillator?
PUBLISHED: 07:00 11 April 2018
A junior football club in Weston-super-Mare has launched a fundraising campaign for a defibrillator to increase the chances of survival if someone has a cardiac arrest at the ground.
Weston Crusaders Junior Football Club is hoping to raise £1,500-1,800 for the equipment, which will be based at Baytree Recreation Ground.
Club chairman Mark Neal said: “Even young children playing football can suffer cardiac arrest because of a heart problem no-one knew about.
“I hope, while we get one, we never have to use it, but it is there in the event.
“When someone goes into cardiac arrest, people panic and don’t know what to do.
“The defibrillator talks you through it.”
The club’s aim is to make it available for anyone to use in an emergency, although because there is no CCTV at Baytree Rec and the defibrillator may be at risk of being vandalised, it will have to be kept inside the clubhouse.
Mark said: “Baytree is a massive area, Milton Nomads play there too, and parents and grandparents come down and watch.
“We have decided not to make it exclusive to the club, but make sure it is available to anyone who needs it when the club is open.”
At least five people died during football matches or training in England last year due to cardiac arrest, including former England international Ugo Ehiogu, who died, aged 44, while working as coach at Tottenham Hotspur FC.
Defibrillators could become a common sight at grassroots level in the future, as Mark believes the Football Association (FA) may make them compulsory for its accredited clubs.
The Crusaders club is already FA charter standard because all its coaches have level one training, as a minimum requirement.
A first aider is also always at the games.
Mark said: “We are FA charter standard, but we know before long it will probably include the fact we need a defibrillator.
“That’s the way I see it going in the future and we are trying to get ahead of the game.”
Mark said even just £1 can make a difference to the club’s appeal.
To donate to the appeal, visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/westoncrusadersdefibrillatorfund