A fundraiser received a national award for striving to place life-saving technology in schools and organisations across his area.
Tony Parris, 73, received the award for his commitment to installing defibrillators across Burgess Hill to help combat the nightmare scenario of cardiac arrest.
After seeing a news article about a child who died of cardiac arrest at school, Tony began a mission to see more schools benefiting from the technology.
He initially donated a defibrillator to Burgess Hill’s St Pauls Catholic College before embarking on a campaign that has so far seen him donate 14 of the machines – costing more than £1,000 each – to needy venues across the town.
For his efforts, he was recently recognised by Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome UK (SADS UK) – a charity that works to prevent cardiac risk in the young and middle-aged.
Tony picked up a prize at the charity’s Annual National Community Defibrillator Awards – an event that welcomes cardiac arrest survivors, paramedics, community resuscitation officers and community first responders to celebrate charitable work.
Anne Jolly, founder of SADS UK, said: “There are individuals and organisations around the UK that are doing great work to raise awareness of SADS and to help protect people in their local community by raising funds for defibrillators.
“We think it is important to recognise the work people like Tony have done and thank them for helping us to educate and protect people in their community.”
SADS UK recently met with Department for Health policymakers in a bid to push through new guidance advising schools to consider purchasing defibrillators.
However the charity is now urging the Government to make defibrillators mandatory in all schools to save lives.
It is now encouraging people to sign an e-petition on the Government’s website to make defibrillators a necessity in schools.
Until then, local heroes like Tony are striving to ensure their local communities are doing as much as they can to prevent cardiac arrest tragedies.
He said: “I am very honoured to receive this award, which would not have been made possible without the money raised by the Burgess Hill District Lions.
“Special thanks must also go to SADS UK and the Mid Sussex Community First Responders for their support.”
If you would like to sign the SADS UK petition, or would like further information about placing a defibrillator in your community, contact Anne Jolly on 01277 811215, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.sadsuk.org.