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Life-saving devices for Leicester parks


The sudden death of a teenager has prompted a move to put potentially life-saving equipment in Leicester's main parks.

The city council is to install defibrillators in five of its biggest recreation grounds.

The devices will be used by trained parks staff to help revive people who have suffered heart failure, by delivering an electric charge to restart the organ.

The plan follows discussions between the council and the Joe Humphries Memorial Trust, which was formed after 14-year-old Joe Humphries collapsed and died last year while jogging near his home in Rothley.

The teenager suffered sudden adult death syndrome (Sads), having previously shown no signs of ill health. An inquest heard Joe died from either a seizure or cardiac arrhythmia, an abnormal heart beat.

Evidence showed he might have lived if he had been treated within minutes of falling ill, in October.

Joe's dad Steve, a sports marketing officer at the council and a former Leicester City goalkeeper, said: "Getting defibrillators in parks is a very positive step.

"Every minute that passes without treatment reduces the chance of survival. A defibrillator can switch the heartbeat back on and that massively improves chances of survival.

"Nothing can bring my son back but we can learn lessons to reduce the chances of anything like this happening again.

"In 10 years, I think defibrillators will be as common as fire extinguishers. We have a long way to go, but we are learning from Joe's tragedy and making sure we are better prepared to deal with Sads."

The council has bought five defibrillators, costing a total of £5,980.

These will be based at Abbey, Evington, Braunstone, Victoria and Spinney Hill parks, where the authority has staff permanently based.

The machines could also be used at other events.

Training for 13 members of staff was carried out by St John Ambulance in May. More will be trained in the coming weeks.

Parks officer Andrew Dhillon, who is based at Spinney Hills Park, said: "I hope we never have to use these defibrillators, but I hope people will be reassured that they are here.

"We have lots of people who use the park for exercise, including people with heart complaints. If someone does collapse then we can be there quickly to help them and that could mean the difference between life and death."

Leicester deputy mayor Councillor Rory Palmer said: "We already have defibrillators in all our leisure centres with pools. One will be going into De Montfort Hall in the next few months.

"I have seen the great work the Joe Humphries Trust is doing and we want to support that."

The trust, set up by Joe's family, promotes research into, and awareness of, sudden unexpected death in young people and encourages training for young people in CPR and other life-saving techniques.

To find out more about the trust, visit:


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