10th February 2023

Lyme Heartbeat receives £1550 donation from Rotary Club of Lyme Regis

Heartbeat volunteers John King and Karen Skardon James flanked either side of Rotary president Alan Vian and Rotarians John Berry (left) and Bill Taylor (right) with the defibrillator located outside Lyme Regis Lifeboat Station

The Rotary Club of Lyme Regis has donated £1550 to Lyme Heartbeat following street collections in Lyme Regis and Charmouth in the run-up to Christmas, and at the annual Carols Round the Tree service.

Lyme Heartbeat is a voluntary organisation which supplies and maintains public access defibrillators around Lyme Regis and Charmouth, currently looking after 11 units. A defibrillator is a device used to give an electric shock to help restart a patient’s heart when they are in cardiac arrest.

The defibrillators have been called into action several times in the past 12 months, with the unit outside Charmouth Pharmacy the most frequently used. Every time they are called upon, the pads need be replaced at a cost of around £65 and, even if they are not used, must be replaced every two years. Additional ongoing costs include replacing the batteries and first aid rescue ready kits plus maintenance of the cabinets which house the defibrillators.

Lyme Heartbeat evolved from an organisation originally formed in memory of fisherman Brian Marks who died in 2015 following a heart attack. The organisation raised funds for life saving equipment with previous events including boat jumbles, raffles and crowdfunding enabling 24-hour access automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to be installed in several locations in and around Lyme Regis. The group also holds defibrillator awareness sessions for members of the community to become confident in using the life saving devices and performing CPR with a further training session planned for April.

On behalf of Lyme Heartbeat, Rob James commented “We are incredibly grateful to Lyme Regis Rotary Club for their very generous donation which will help significantly towards the ongoing cost of maintaining our units. The donation was very timely, as since receiving the funds we’ve needed to replace the battery packs on two units, the one outside the Marine Theatre and the one located at Monmouth beach, at a cost £672. We’ve also needed to replace the heater within the defibrillator cabinet located outside the Heritage Centre at Charmouth beach.” 

Each of the 11 units managed by Lyme Heartbeat is registered with South Western Ambulance Service and The Circuit, a national database supported by the British Heart Foundation, St John Ambulance, The Resuscitation Council UK and the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives, which means a caller to 999 will be directed to their nearest device if one is required.

Data from South Western Ambulance Service reveals more than 3,600 people are resuscitated in the South West area each year using a defibrillator after suffering cardiac arrest out of hospital. For every minute that passes once in cardiac arrest, a person loses a further 10% chance of survival, and with this dramatic loss in chance of survival, there is a need for a defibrillator every 4-5 minutes’ walk. Increased availability of defibrillators significantly improves cardiac arrest survival rates.