Charity donates a life-saving machine

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A charity set up in memory of a Cramlington man has donated lifesaving equipment to a Northumberland golf club.

North East Hearts and Goals was set up by Christine Stephenson and her sister-in-law Kelly Best after Kelly’s husband – and Christine’s brother – Neil Best, from Cramlington, died at the age of 32 of an undiagnosed heart defect.

Now the charity has teamed up with the North East Ambulance Service to donate defibrillators to public places around the region, including Close House Hotel in Heddon-on-the-Wall.

Christine said: “We have already placed several defibrillators in the north east in schools and other establishments, and we approached Close House as it is the region’s premiere golf club.

“So if they raise awareness, hopefully it will encourage other golf clubs to follow suit.

“It is the aim to get a defibrillator everywhere and to raise awareness of how to use them.”

Each defibrillator costs around £800, and the charity hopes to have 17 across the region by the end of the year.

Kelly said: “To lose your husband suddenly at just 32 when you have two young children is just horrific, but to be then told that your son may have a similar condition is devastating.

“If the donation of the defibrillators and training saves even one life it will go some way to helping us recover.

“We are aiming to get as many defibrillators in schools, sports clubs and golf clubs as possible but there is still so much to do.”

Community resuscitation officer for North East Ambulance Service, Alex Wheeler, who was delivering the training, said: “With this training we really want to get across that people shouldn’t be afraid to use a defibrillator.

“You can’t kill anyone by using it, it will only make people better.

“If it’s not needed it won’t work, so the machine tells you what to do.

“You can use a defibrilator without training, but we are more than happy to talk to anyone who wants to about how to use one.”

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