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School’s smart heart award
Tuesday 19th July 2016 @ 15:14 by Nigel Skinner
Community Hyde News

A head teacher from Hattersley is encouraging schools and businesses across the borough to raise money to buy more defibrillators.

Her call comes after the school received a top honour at the Cardiac Smart Awards recently after an individual was saved near the school thanks to the vital equipment.

St James’ head Jackie Walker believes that had her school not had a defibrillator, then one Hattersley resident would not have survived after suffering with a heart attack.

Teachers Suzanne Mason and Laura O’Flaherty raced into action to help Chris McBain as he battled to save a man’s life.

Laura immediately ran back to school to get the equipment.

Then, along with Amanda Collins, Anne-Marie Kinder, Paula Boyce and Jackie Walker, the group teamed up with heath centre nurse Julie Goddard to administer CPR and use the defibrillator on the casualty.

Fortunately the man responded and he was then treated by paramedics, who had arrived on the scene.   

As a result of their life-saving efforts, the group was recognised by the Cardiac Smart at a glitzy ceremony hosted by BBC North West Tonight presenter Annabel Tiffin at The Park Hall Hotel in Charnock Richard.

Mrs Walker admitted she was keen to play down her staff’s heroics.

“We were humbled by the award, but the ambulance service have persuaded us to make a big fuss about it because they told us that 60,000 people suffer a heart attack or heart failure in an environment other than a hospital.

“Of that only four per cent of those people survive and these four per cent only survive because of community defibrillators and community responders.

“So we’re keen that every public place gets a defibrillator and we’re going to support the ambulance service in their quest to do that,” Mrs Walker explained.

The school raised money for their own defibrillator thanks in no small part to the amazing generosity of pupils and parents at Pinfold Primary School who passed on the extra money to St James following their own fundraising efforts.

The school also held a number of money-raising events, which included staff taking part in the Manchester 10k race.

It meant the school was presented with its own defibrillator in September 2015.

The excess funds were then passed on to the Hattersley Hub where the life-saving equipment has also been purchased.

It is this sort of community spirit that the head is particularly proud of and she’s also thrilled that 13 members of her team are qualified first aiders.

“I know it costs a lot of money,” said Mrs Walker.