For golfing legend Bernard Gallacher, a Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) during a hotel dinner could have been fatal, but for the presence of a heart defibrillator. Having recovered, Bernard initiated a campaign to get more Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) installed around the UK. On hearing of the campaign, Bewley was keen to get involved.
Working with the Arrhythmia Alliance Trust – for whom Mr Gallacher is spearheading the campaign – Bewley arranged to have AEDs installed at two key Reading locations. The first was presented to Broad Street Mall in November and on 4th December, at a launch hosted by Jack FM, Bernard cut the ribbon on the second, at Reading Station.
Following the official unveiling Trudie Lobban (MBE), a Founder and Trustee of the Arrhythmia Alliance, demonstrated how simple it is for anyone to use an AED. "Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is responsible for the deaths of more Britons each year than any other condition" Trudie explained; "Bystander intervention with CPR and defibrillation with an AED can increase SCA survival from 5% to over 50%. Average UK survival rates are currently only 7%, demonstrating just how much of a difference could be made if more of us were willing to intervene and able to react to those who collapse and stop breathing because of SCA."
One of the key objectives of the launch event was to raise awareness of the importance of AEDs, so the Bewley and Arrhythmia Alliance teams were really pleased that the invited audience included reporters from the national and local press, TV and radio stations. As a result, media coverage was extensive – Jack FM delivered announcements throughout the day on the railway station’s PA system and ran an interviewswith Bewley’s Andrew Brooks on the radio news, which was repeated over the weekend. The story was also covered by Meridian TV news, both morning and evening.
“More than 15 million people pass through Reading Station each year,” says Colin Brooks, Chairman of Bewley, “if one of them should suffer a sudden cardiac arrest, the AED we’ve donated could make all the difference.” Born and raised in Reading, Colin and his family have strong ties to it, “The town means a lot to us and we’re really pleased to have this opportunity to show it by donating such life-saving equipment”.