Local business owners fund life-saving defibrillators in town centre
By Sophie Ladd | 12th August 2021
The owners of two local businesses in Cheltenham have funded two new defibrillators set to be installed in the town centre, potentially saving heart attack victims' lives.
Former chairman of housing and social care provider Mears Group PLC and business mentor Bob Holt OBE volunteered to fund a lifesaving defibrillator for the town, alongside his former colleague and friend Mike Turl, former owner of Mears and now Founder of building services contractor HM Group. The two new defibrillators will be sited in high footfall locations in the town, yet to be agreed upon with Cheltenham Borough Council, but will benefit the local community and its many visitors as well as extend the life-saving network even further.
Tidal Training Direct's founding director Clare Seed is co-founder of Public Hearts Cheltenham Defibrillator Campaign, raising awareness and numbers of defibrillators in Cheltenham. The initiative seeks to make life-saving defibrillators more accessible in the town and ensure that those which are installed are registered with the Emergency Services. Cheltenham town centre's first public access defibrillator was funded by Cheltenham BID last year and installed by RBS on The Promenade in one of the phone boxes. However, the town is still lacking in defibrillators which are publicly accessible 24 hours a day.
When asked about his commitment, Bob Holt OBE said: "It's a simple case of what better can you do with your money? I have been privileged to spend the majority of my business career in Gloucestershire, having my family in Cheltenham too, giving me a long-standing link to the region. I continue to enjoy a lot of time here, and for a relatively small amount of money, we have the potential to save a life. The fact that many defibrillators go on to save many lives is a bonus and has far more value than the cost of the original equipment."
Similarly, Mike Turl, Founder of HM Group commented: "Having lived in Gloucestershire all my life, and enjoyed my business success, I feel it is important to support and help the local community. Clare's defibrillator campaign really resonated, and it's good to know that there is such passion behind building an accessible and potentially life-saving network. I am delighted to be able to fund a defibrillator for Cheltenham."
Clare Seed added: "I was connected to Bob and Mike via the local Circle2Success networking initiative, which just shows the value of local business connections in the town. I was hoping to get one defibrillator funded for the town, but to get two is absolutely incredible! It just shows the big hearts of these two fantastic local businessmen, and we are extremely grateful for their contributions. Thank you!"
Anyone who is assisting an individual with a possible cardiac arrest should call 999 for the emergency services. They will help you confirm whether a defibrillator is required, and will direct you to the nearest unit. The Public Hearts Cheltenham campaign has so far identified over 50 defibrillators in and around Cheltenham, supporting South Western Ambulance Service who previously held an accreditation scheme. Now, registering them with 'The Circuit', a national defibrillator network maps their locations and connects them with NHS ambulance services throughout the UK.
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