A LIFE-SAVING device has been installed at a popular South Shields park, following a successful fundraising campaign by local groups.

Readhead Park Veterans Bowling and Social Club and the Friends of Readhead Park were conscious that, with around 1000 visitors every week, it was important that the park had its own defibrillator for use in emergencies.

And following on from a number of fund-raising activities and financial support from South Tyneside Council plus help from North East heart charity, The Red Sky Foundation, the important equipment has now been installed outside the park’s bowling club.

The machine – which can literally make the difference between life and death in the vital moments after someone suffers a cardiac arrest – is in a secure box accessed by a pin number, which is given out once an emergency call is made.

Harry McLean, treasurer of the Readhead Park Veterans’ Bowling and Social Club, said everyone was delighted the defibrillator was now in place.

“You always hope it will not need to be used but it is good to have it here, just in case,” he said.

“We have wanted to have one at the park for quite a long time because it literally could save someone’s life if it needed to be used.”

The fund-raising campaign was supported by the councillors for the Westoe ward, Cllr Glenn Thompson,Cllr Sheila Stephenson and Cllr Allan West.


Speaking on behalf of all three councillors, Cllr Thompson conveyed his thanks to everyone who had helped support the campaign.

“We would like to give our sincere thanks for the support and funding from both the Red Sky Foundation and the South Tyneside Community Area Forum (Riverside), that has been key in this initiative to provide a defibrillator facility in Readhead Park,” he said.

“As councillors we have worked with the Readhead Park Veterans’ Bowling and Social Club for several months now and its very satisfying for everyone involved to see this realised.

“This potentially lifesaving initiative will be a fantastic facility for the Westoe ward.”

Local resident Cheryl Holmstrom added, “The fundraising efforts have been fantastic and the defibrillator gives residents the peace of mind the life saving equipment is here.

“I think it’s great how everyone has come together as a community to really make a difference and a positive impact.”

Although the device is very easy to use, residents and park users will be given CPR training organised by Red Sky Foundation and the North East Ambulance Service.

Founder of Red Sky Foundation, Sergio Petrucci, said: “When we were asked to get involved in the project to provide another defibrillator in the region we were glad to help.

“We’re always looking for new people to support Red Sky Foundation and now that we’ve become a key part of the Westoe community I hope it will lead to new partnerships across other areas of region so we can help to save the lives of babies, children and adults across the North East who need emergency coronary care.”

Since its launch in 2016, Red Sky Foundation has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds to help towards funding hospital machines and numerous defibrillators placed in towns and city centres across the region in a bid to help so many people needing cardiac care.


Note to newsdesks

Pic caption: (left to right) Sergio Petrucci, Harry McLean and local resident, Cheryl Holstrom.

11 November 2020

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