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Vandals destroy life-saver device bought in memory of runner in Bexhill
Vandals have destroyed a life-saving defibrillator installed in memory of a man who died while out running.
The machine was ripped from its cabinet, damaged beyond repair and thrown into the sea.
It had been installed following the death of Alex Hall, who suffered a heart attack on Bexhill seafront almost two years ago.
Despite the efforts of paramedics, they were unable to save the 55-year-old.
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Family and friends, including Mr Hall's widow, Lorraine, held a fundraising campaign to install the defibrillator at the Tea Beside the Sea Cafe at The Colonnade.
Mrs Hall told the Argus: “I am obviously disgusted and upset about what has happened. It is nothing but ignorance and stupidity.
“I just hope the people responsible or somebody they love never has to need to have one of these machines around.
“However I do want to get something positive out of this.
“We have raised enough to pay for two defibrillators but we are determined to keep the fundraising going and find the money to replace the one that was destroyed.
“We also want to carry on and raise enough to pay for even more.
“I hope this will also raise awareness about how important these machines are and the need to have them in as many places as possible.
“If there was one around near Alex, it might have saved his life.
“If those involved are tracked down, they should be given training about defibrillators and why they are vital.”
Defibrillators are used to treat cardiac arrest patients by delivering an electric shock to kick-start the heart.
The vandals also scrawled graffiti on walls during the incident last weekend.
South East Coast Ambulance Service clinical operations manager Tim Fellows said: “This was a thoughtless act which put lives at risk.
“Lorraine and her fellow fundraisers have dedicated a huge amount of their time and effort to raise vital funds for this life-saving piece of equipment.
“We hope that those responsible realise the seriousness of their actions and urge anyone with any information at all to come forward and contact us or the police.”
A replacement defibrillator, provided by the ambulance trust, is due to be installed at The Colonnade early next week.
People can donate to the Alex Hall Memorial Fund c/o Bexhill Ambulance Station, 10 Beeching Road, Bexhill TN39 3LG.
Sussex Police is investigating the incident, which was reported just before 2pm on Sunday.
Anyone with information is asked to call 101 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, quoting serial 753 of 16/2.