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Widow gives village defibrillator in memory of husband
1:00pm Thursday 5th September 2013 in News
A LIFE-saving defibrillator has been set up in a village near Didcot in memory of a dad who died after collapsing on a lunch-hour run.
Father-of-three Graham Richards, from Blewbury, died aged 41 in August last year after suffering a cardiac arrest.
His widow Heather, a primary school teacher, was determined to do something positive in his memory and paid for the defibrillator to be placed in a cabinet at the village hall so it is available 24 hours a day.
Mr and Mrs Richards had just celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary in Scotland when Mr Richards collapsed.
Mrs Richards, 40, who has three children, Dylan, 11, Rosie, eight, and Felix, seven, said: “Graham was such a fit man and always used to go out for runs in his lunchtime.
“I received a call from the police to tell me Graham had collapsed and that attempts to revive him had failed. Someone at the scene had given him CPR but a defibrillator wasn’t used on him until the ambulance arrived. He was rushed to hospital but they couldn’t save him.
“Graham was so fit and used to take part in triathlons – he really was the last person you would have expected this to happen to.
“We hope the defibrillator never needs to be used, but at least now the village is protected with this lifesaving device.”
Mrs Richards said the defibrillator cost £2,100, which she paid for out of her husband’s estate.
She said: “It’s in a locked cabinet but in an emergency people can dial 999 and the ambulance service will give them an access code for the cabinet. It has been up for a couple of weeks – I’m really pleased to see it.”
The arrival of the defibrillator has been welcomed by Hearts & Goals, an Arrhythmia Alliance campaign to tackle sudden cardiac arrest, fronted by former Bolton footballer Fabrice Muamba, who recovered after his heart stopped during a match last year.
Angela Barton, chair of Blewbury Village Society, said: “Graham was so well-known and the last person you would have expected something like that to happen to. This is a fantastic legacy to him.”
In 2011, villagers in Long Wittenham near Didcot set up a defibrillator in an old BT phone box.
The device was bought in memory of 17-year-old Guy Evans, who lived in the village when he was killed in a motorbike accident in 2008 after his heart stopped.
Mrs Richards said there was an audio message on the defibrillator explaining how people can use it.
She added: “If anyone has any problems using it they can phone South Central Ambulance.
“We are going to hold a talk later this month to let everyone in the village know how it works.”