Life-saving defibrillator to be installed at pre-school - thanks to four-year-old's 'amazing' charity walk
PUBLISHED: 17:10 26 September 2019 | UPDATED: 17:10 26 September 2019
A new life-saving piece of equipment is to be installed at a popular pre-school setting.
Staff at St Benedict's Pre-School in Lowestoft unveiled the new equipment this week - with the facility to become the first pre-school setting in the town housing a defibrillator for wider use within the community.
And there was special praise for former pupil Harry Lord, four, and his mum Melanie - as they helped raise £295 towards the cost of the new life-saving equipment by completing a five-mile walk for charity.
The youngster, who is on the autism spectrum, "wanted to give something back" to the pre-school for all the support they had given him.
Harry, who now attends nursery at Gunton Primary Academy, returned to the pre-school - based at St Benedict's Church in Hollingsworth Road - with his mum on Monday as the new defibrillator was showcased.
And delighted staff at the pre-school hailed Harry and his mum's "amazing" efforts.
Leanne Grant, pre-school leader, said: "We can't thank Harry and Melanie enough for donating us half of the proceeds from their sponsored walk."
Last month's walk from Hopton holiday village to Ness Point in Lowestoft raised £590, with £295 also awarded to Lowestoft and North Suffolk National Autistic Society branch.
Miss Lord, who owns Butterbean bizarre which creates personalised and unique home decor items while raising awareness of autism, said: "Harry was three when he completed the walk and we did it to raise awareness of autism while also giving something back to the pre-school.
"It was a massive thing for him to complete the walk.
"For any three-year-old it would be a long distance walk, but for Harry he can get very anxious about things.
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"It is great knowing that the money is going to life-saving equipment for the community."
Mrs Grant added: "We did a first aid course in March and with the training we realised how vital they are if someone has a cardiac arrest.
"The nearest public access defibrillator to us is at Gunton Primary Academy - there is nothing in the vicinity."
With the aim of raising funds to purchase the defibrillator, which could then be based at the setting and used for the pre school, the church, the community and other clubs and groups, Mrs Grant liased with Jayne Biggs, from the Heart 2 Heart charity - and they were soon able to fund the device.
For the past few years Jayne Biggs, from Bradwell, has ensured people across the Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft areas have access to a defibrillator - a device which saved the life of her daughter Violet after she suffered a sudden cardiac arrest when she was seven.
She said: "There are 140 defibrillators now across Suffolk and Norfolk.
"People don't realise how essential they are. They're easy to use, they saved a life (in the Yarmouth area) last year, and my daughter Violet was saved by one when she was seven.
"The charity started out as Heart 2 Heart Norfolk but there are probably as many defibrillators now in Suffolk as there are in Norfolk."
Staff at St Benedict's Pre-School in Lowestoft are now hoping for further donations to help fund an external cupboard for the defibrillator, so that it can be available for the community.
■ If you can help with donations, or would like to find out more about the pre-school, which still has a few afternoon spaces available, then call 07791 849 899 or visit its page on Facebook.