Wayne Pope died suddenly just 10 days after his 30th birthday. A heart defibrillator could have saved his life.
Now that vital piece of equipment has been presented to an Abbots Langley (UK) primary school to ensure that its staff and pupils could be saved in similar circumstances.
Wayne died from Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS), a rare condition that affects apparently healthy people, in 2005. Since then, his parents, John and Jeanette, and his brother, Glynn, have been raising money for the charity they set up in his name, Wayne’s Fund.
With the money they collect, they buy heart defibrillators to donate to local schools.
Glynn visited Divine Saviour Primary School in Broomfield Rise, where he made the charity’s sixth donation to head teacher Philip Gibbs.
Glynn, from Creasey Close, said “It’s a pleasure for me to put something back into the community.”
It was Pauline O’Brien, a parent governor at the school, who first talked with estate agent Glynn about a defibrillator for the school. They’d met when he went to value her home.
Pauline, who has two children, Conor, 8, and Hannah, 6, at the school, said “It seemed like a very worthwhile piece of equipment the school could have and not just to help children and staff but the wider community.”
Each machine from the Community HeartBeat Trust costs about to £1,500. To raise money for the charity, a bike ride has been organized every year between August 1 and August 10, the dates of Wayne’s birthday and death. This year’s event will take place August 1, on what would have been his 35th birthday.
“If one of these machines were available when my brother passed away, things would have been very different,” Glynn said. “We don’t want families to go through what we have been through. If we save just one life, everything we have done is worthwhile.”
Glynn revealed that Wayne’s Fund has also entered a partnership with the ambulance service, which will provide training to staff every time a school now receives a defibrillator.
Philip Gibbs, head teacher of Divine Saviour, said “The health and safety of all the children and staff in the school is of paramount importance to us so we’re happy to receive training and the use of this new defibrillator.”
The defibrillator is the sixth to be given to local schools, with equipment already presented to St Michael’s Catholic High School, Garston; St Catherine of Siena Catholic Primary School, Garston; Francis Combe Academy, Garston; Mount Pleasant Lane School, Bricket Wood; and Cavendish School, Hemel Hempstead.
For more information about Wayne’s Fund, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor’s Note: Credit to Michael Pickard of the Watford Observer for providing the basis for this article.