Charity hero calls for more defibrillators after Eriksen collapse


Jayne Biggs has installed more than 250 defibrillators across Norfolk and Suffolk. - Credit: Ian Burt

Like most of those tuning in, Jayne Biggs watched on in horror on Saturday as Danish footballer Christian Eriksen collapsed during his nation's clash with Finland.

But Mrs Biggs, 50, from Gorleston, knew better than most that the paramedics on hand had a life-saving piece of kit up their sleeve.

That's because she is behind a charity, Heart 2 Heart, which is responsible for the installation of more than 250 defibrillators across Norfolk and Suffolk.

Her motivation for starting the charity was borne out of firsthand experience. Mrs Biggs herself is a lifesaver, having resuscitated her 15-year-old daughter Violet, who had a cardiac arrest on February 23, 2013, aged just six.

Violet suffers from long QT syndrome, an inherited heart problem that affects how your heart beats.

In some people, this can cause fainting or fits (seizures) but for Violet, she also suffers from sudden death syndrome which resulted in her cardiac arrest.


Anne Everitt receiving a defibrillator on behalf of Pakefield Church PCC from Jayne Biggs and Rob Clarke. - Credit: Mick Howes

Violet survived after her mum performed CPR on her and following on from this, Mrs Biggs has installed over 250 defibrillators across areas such as Norwich, Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft and Bungay.

One such defibrillator saved the life of Richard Brown, from Norwich who collapsed at Gorleston and Great Yarmouth Sailing club in June 2018.

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Mr Brown, 52, survived thanks to the defibrillator on-site, and the training given to members by Mrs Biggs.

richard brown

Richard Brown pictured with his son just three days after his life was saved by a Heart 2 Heart defibrillator. - Credit: Richard Brown

Reacting to the news of Eriksen's suspected cardiac arrest, Mrs Briggs said: "I was watching it live and I had tears in my eyes.

"It goes to show that life can change just like that, in a heartbeat.

"Defibrillators really are life saving. When Fabrice Muamba collapsed, a defibrillator and CPR was used for 78 minutes. It just goes to show you should never give up."

Mrs Briggs added that having a defibrillator nearby means someone has a 70pc chance of survival.

When there is not a defibrillator, survival rates stand at just 5pc.

Mrs Briggs is proud of the charity work she has done over the years across Norfolk and Suffolk saving lives but agrees more needs to be done to teach people CPR and have defibrillators in accessible places.

She said: "We need to start teaching children at a young age how to save someone's life with CPR and a defibrillator.

"Whilst some areas in Norfolk and Suffolk have defibrillators now, in areas like Norwich there is a lack of them.

"My job now is to educate people and continue to campaign for more defibrillators in our area."

How to use a defibrillator

According to the British Heart Foundation (BHF) these are the steps to take in order to use a defibrillator.

Step 1: Turn the defibrillator on by pressing the green button and follow its instructions.

Step 2: Peel off the sticky pads and attach them to the patient’s skin, one on each side of the chest, as shown in the picture on the defibrillator.

Step 3: Once the pads have been attached, stop CPR and don’t touch the patient. The defibrillator will then analyse the patient’s heart rhythm.

Step 4: The defibrillator will assess whether a shock is needed and if so, it will tell you to press the shock button. An automatic defibrillator will shock the patient without prompt. Do not touch the patient while they are being shocked.

Step 5: The defibrillator will tell you when the shock has been delivered and whether you need to continue CPR.

Step 6: Continue with chest compressions and rescue breaths until the patient shows signs of life or the defibrillator tells you to stop so it can analyse the heartbeat again.

A poster showing how to give CPR

A poster from the British Heart Foundation showing how to give CPR. - Credit: British Heart Foundation

How to perform CPR

This is how to perform CPR according to the NHS.

Place the heel of your hand on the breastbone at the centre of the person's chest. Place your other hand on top of your first hand and interlock your fingers.

Position yourself with your shoulders above your hands.

Using your body weight (not just your arms), press straight down by 5 to 6cm (2 to 2.5 inches) on their chest.

Keeping your hands on their chest, release the compression and allow the chest to return to its original position.

Repeat these compressions at a rate of 100 to 120 times a minute until an ambulance arrives or you become exhausted.