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Rutland celebrations for installation of 60th defibrillator in memory of young woman who died of cancer

People celebrated a new defibrillator being installed in Rutland in memory of a young woman who died of cancer.

The Karen Ball Fund has now placed 60 defibrillators across the county, with the latest going on the outside wall of Cottesmore Village Hall.

The fund, created by Karen’s parents Jim and Elizabeth Bolton of Cottesmore, aims to help people in Rutland with terminal conditions.

It began in 1988 when Karen died, aged 21, and ceased fundraising in 2015, but its support for good causes continues.

On Wednesday people gathered at the village hall to mark the fund’s 60th defibrillator being installed. Alan Birchenall, ambassador for Leicester City Football Club, cut the ribbon.

Alan was invited because he suffered a cardiac arrest at an awards ceremony in 2017 and was successfully brought back to life thanks to chest compressions and a defibrillator. He was ‘shocked’ three times.

Also present was Rutland County Council leader Coun Oliver Helmsley, who said the installation of the defibrillator in Cottesmore was a huge milestone for the Karen Ball Trust and for Rutland.

Coun Helmsley (Con-Langham) said: “Defibrillators save lives and the Karen Ball Trust and Karen’s parents have worked tirelessly to ensure a lasting legacy from Karen’s death.

“I would personally like to express my thanks for the work they have done to empower and equip our residents to be able to respond quickly to a cardiac arrest. From their own sadness, they have put in place measures that may save many other families from suffering.”

Cottesmore Parish Council also offered its congratulations to Karen Ball’s family and others who have worked tirelessly to promote the importance of access to defibrillators.

Parish council chairman Chris Donovan said: “As a community we are proud to be associated with this from the start and to be the location for the fund’s 60th defibrillator.”

The Karen Ball Fund has worked for 10 years with the Community Heartbeat Trust in installing defibrillators.

Trust national secretary Martin Fagan said: “Defibrillators save lives when used as part of a chain of survival, that includes calling 999 for an ambulance, using chest compressions to keep the person alive, and then using the defibrillator to help save the life.”

Communities wanting a defibrillator can contact Julie Burgess-Ray at Juliet.burgessray@btinternet.com

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