Pair on the ball to help football club

Luke Hopper and Stacey Fox donate a defibrillator to Chris Barnfather, Kallum Percy, Gary Stephenson, John Barnfather and players from Cullercoats FC.
Luke Hopper and Stacey Fox donate a defibrillator to Chris Barnfather, Kallum Percy, Gary Stephenson, John Barnfather and players from Cullercoats FC.

A key piece of life-saving equipment has been donated to a local football team thanks to the generosity of two health professionals.

Stacey Fox and Luke Hopper, who work for North East Ambulance Service (NEAS), took part in a charity zip wire from the Tyne Bridge last year.

They were raising money for North East Hearts with Goals, which places defibrillators into communities.

The pair managed to raise enough money to purchase three – with one being donated to Cullercoats FC.

Stacey said: “My dad has an extensive cardiac history, having had seven heart attacks and a cardiac arrest. Because of my dad, everywhere I go, I want there to be one available.

“On top of this, my work out on the road gives me first-hand experience of how important it can be for patients to have a defibrillator on scene.

“We had a lot of donations from our family and friends but also from our colleagues so we’d really like to thank everyone for their support. I hope none of these have to be used but if they are I hope they make a difference.”

Luke added: “We respond to cardiac arrests all the time and know that every second without a defibrillation in certain cardiac arrests will reduce a patient’s chance of survival.

“We only intended to raise enough money for one so to be able to buy three was amazing. We actually raised enough for two-and-a-half and then John Barnfather, who we work with, said he’d top us up to three if we gave the defibrillator to his football club as they’d been trying to buy one.”

“It’s great to be able to see your hard work, all the fundraising that we did, go to good use.”

When a person goes into cardiac arrest, their heart is beating erratically.

A defibrillator sends out an electrical shock to the heart, which momentarily stops the heart with the aim of bringing it back to a normal rhythm.

The defibrillator automatically detects whether it is needed, meaning anybody can use it. The sooner defibrillation begins, the better the patient’s chance of survival.