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Gloucestershire Business News

Rotary club proud of defibrillator campaign

In a perfect world, you would always be within three minutes of an accessible defibrillator.

However, when Bernard Dunkley took over as president of Rotary@Kingsholm in 2023, he saw Gloucester falling very short on national tables.

Rotary@Kingsholm has always been a club that has focused on local causes where service before self is the main aim. So, when Bernard Dunkley took on the position as president last year, he was gifted to choose which charities to support and fundraise for in the city and local community.

Researching a service to support, he became aware of the tragic case of Sam Polledri, brother of Jake at Gloucester Rugby, who died in his early 20s, having had a cardiac arrest in Bristol where there was no immediate 24/7 availability of a lifesaving defibrillator. As well as the case of Nichole Tetherington, who survived a cardiac arrest in Gloucester by the quick action of police racing to get a defibrillator, who were fortunately patrolling in the area at the time.

A published National Table of Defibrillator Placement and access in cities throughout England showed that Gloucester was rated bottom, with just three units, whereas, Birmingham had more than 500!

Looking for someone or an organisation to help and support a defibrillator campaign for the city of Gloucester, Rotary@Kingsholm formed a partnership with Steve Lindsay, manager of Gloucester City Safe, whose role it was dealing with the day-to-day operation of the Business Crime Reduction Partnership keeping the city safe and supporting scheme members.

Steve committed to help, offering resources where possible to get defibrillators placed around the city with 24/7 public access.

Outside the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity shop on Northgate Street was the first purchased and donated by Rotary@Kingsholm for the start of the campaign. They have now raised funding through events and generous donations from Gloucester Business Improvement District (BID), anonymous gifting and gift aid, enabling a further nine x 24/7 public access defibrillators installed around the city.

Bernard Dunkley said: "Events and collections during my year include Mike dAbo, former Manfred Mann frontman, with our first big fund raising dinner hosted at Kingsholm Stadium, which gave a terrific boost to our campaign, followed by collections in the city.

"A fundraising event was also held at Warehouse 4 Gloucester Brewery, supported by managing director Geoff Smith, who donated the use of premises for a race night charity event, again contributing a healthy sum for the defibrillator campaign.

"Through the support of Gloucester Safe and Rotary@Kingsholm in-house poster and display designs, our poster leaflets were circulated to over 500 local companies. Visual display screens were prominent within the major shopping centre in Gloucester Quays together with a Just Giving site on our website, all helped to achieve a successful life-saving campaign in which Rotary@Kingsholm should feel justly proud."

This campaign involving many Rotary@Kingsholm members demonstrates what can be achieved when 'service before self' Rotarians meet together discussing the contributions that can be made to a community for the benefit of all.

Steve said: "With the large number of events in Gloucester taking place, these units are a major asset to our city and will benefit businesses, visitors and students alike."

Even though Bernard's term as president is coming to an end, Rotary@Kingsholm's contribution to this campaign has been instrumental and will hopefully continue through joint city partnerships in the future.

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