A CAMPAIGN to install hundreds of units of life-saving equipment across the county has smashed the halfway point.

South Central Ambulance Service’s Dick Tracey wanted 320 defibrillators across Oxfordshire so nobody was more than 10 minutes away from one. The senior ambulance service manager revealed 160 devices, which anyone can use to shock the heart back to life, are now in place with another 24 due to be installed.

His original deadline was May but he now hopes to have them all in place a month earlier after interest from community groups, individuals and parish councils trebled.
Mr Tracey said: “We remain on target to get to 320 defibrillators and I suspect around February or March I will be setting new targets for next year because we will already be close to meeting it.”

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The Oxford Mail-backed campaign has also had a positive side-effect with more people wanting first aid training.
In October last year, Mr Tracey did not hold any training sessions but last month he taught almost 150 people in communities across Oxfordshire. He said: “It’s simply because public awareness has gone up in defibrillators generally but also the fact that people’s villages are getting one.
“They want to come along and know about it and try to understand it, and a lot of that is due to the coverage by the Oxford Mail.’’
Defibrillators can save crucial minutes for victims of cardiac arrest, he said.
The units can be used by anyone and provide recorded instructions to shock a heart before paramedics arrive.
Prime Minister and Witney MP David Cameron said: “Defibrillators play an important role in saving lives, especially in rural areas.
“I am so pleased that we will soon see them all over Oxfordshire. A huge well done to everyone involved.’’
His thoughts were echoed by Nikki Rouse Thompson, who set up the Legacy for a Legend charity after her husband Paul Thompson, 38, died when he collapsed during football training.
Legacy for a Legend installs defibrillator units at sports grounds across the country, including Burwell Meadow, Milton-under-Wychwood and Ducklington.
The Aston resident said: “It’s excellent news, they are much needed in the county. The more there are, the more chance there is of lives being saved.
“Legacy for a Legend wants them to put them in football grounds but the whole community benefits from them being there.”
Senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation Julie Ward said: “Defibrillators are simple and safe and can help save someone’s life. 
“If someone’s had a cardiac arrest, every minute that passes without CPR and defibrillation their chance of survival reduces by 10 per cent.”
Ahdy Gerges is the landlord of The Vines pub in Black Bourton, where a defibrillator was installed this month.
He said: “It’s in the grounds of the pub and we will be trained in how to help anyone who needs it. 
“We think it’s a great idea because it would be very quick and we could react quicker than when we call 999.
“We raised about £1,000 in the village for it, which I think is really good. We had a bucket in the pub that people could put money into.”


ANYONE can buy a defibrillator, which can then be stored in a public place
Automated external
defibrillators (AEDs) are stored in
public places, such as on walls
outside a building or in a defunct
red phone box
They include vocal instructions
telling people how to use it after
they have obtained the security
code by calling 999
To apply for WODC’s
defibrillator scheme, call the
council on 01993 861000
For more information on the
South Oxfordshire District
Council and Vale of White Horse
District Council grants schemes,
call 01491 823136 or email
Community groups and
individuals looking to install a
defibrillator should contact
To make a donation send a
cheque payable to: South Central
Ambulance, League of Friends,
Dick Tracey, divisional responder
manager, c/o South Central
Ambulance Service, Unit B3,
Bridge House, Station Yard,
Thame, OX9 3UH
To see a map of where devices
are located, download the AED Locator UK mobile phone or iPad app or visit

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