AN inspirational fundraiser who has raised thousands of pounds to put life-saving defibrilators in every school and community centre on his home estate is now rallying support to do the same for communities across Chester.
Father of seven Lee Challinor, Founder of the Blacon Defibrillator Fund, has helped raise money to pay for the seven defibrillators now in place at all five primary schools in Blacon, the estates High School and community centre.
This week, Mr Challinor and his team will present a defibrillator at the home of Blacon Youth Football Club, Cairns Crescent, Blacon. There are plans to install the estate’s ninth defibrillator outside the Spar, Western Avenue, Blacon, within the next few weeks. Specialist training on how to use the equipment has been given.
Mr Challinor, 34, was inspired to raise funds for the £1,000 units because three of his seven children, Georgia-Lea, 16, Elle-May, 12 and Millie, nine, have a heart condition called pulmonary stenosis.
Defibrillators are used to detect heart rates that are too slow or too fast and correct them using an electrical current. The defibrillator, which can be as small as the size of a pager, saves or improves thousands of lives every year by maintaining or correcting the rhythm of the heart.
Mr Challinor, a joiner, from Melbourne Road, Blacon, set up the Blacon Defibrillator Fund last year with support from partner Melanie Lloyd, fellow residents, local councillors and businesses. Overwhelmed by the support of the Blacon community,
Mr Challinor said he has already had requests for the life-saving equipment to be installed in other Chester communities and believes with the right level of support it can be achieved.
Mr Challinor, who received the Cardiac Smart gold award on behalf of the Blacon Defibrillator Fund in May, said: “The Blacon Defbrillator Fund has been a huge success and that is thanks to the people of Blacon and all those who have supported the campaign – I think it is fair to say Blacon now has more defibrillators per square mile than anywhere else in the country and that is brilliant. Thanks to the people of Blacon and those who have worked tirelessly to fund the campaign, our schools, our children, and fellow residents now have access to these vital lifesaving defibrillators in case of a cardiac emergency. This equipment really is crucial in helping to save lives. I would like to thank all who have helped and supported us.”
Mr Challinor said he would now like to repeat the campaign in other Chester communities with Lache looking set to be next in line to benefit. He hopes many people from the wider Chester community dig deep and help organise and support fundraising events.
“With enough support, we can roll out the campaign in communities across Chester and make sure that schools and others have this vital equipment. Obviously a lot of fundraising and support is needed to make this a reality, so get in touch.”
Mr Challinor can be contacted on 01244 421027. For more information and to make a donation, visit the Blacon Defibrillator Fund on Facebook, email email@example.com
Mr Challinor’s fundraising efforts to date in support of the Blacon Defibrillator Fund include a balloon race last Valentine’s Day which raised £2,100 together with a £500 donation from Arriva, funding on behalf of Blacon councillors, a Santa sleigh, and community fundraising events.
Avenue Services, Blacon, and cardiac charity SADS UK have also supported the appeal.
Anne Jolly, a spokesman for cardiac charity SADS UK, which has backed the campaign by donating the balloons and £780, said: “The donation and placement of defibrillators in schools is absolutely crucial as sudden cardiac arrest can affect a person of any age, even children.”
See full story in the Chester Leader