New life-saving kit installed thanks to local schoolgirl

left to right Scott Burborough, Island Roads powered apparatus manager, Duncan Walker, Ambulance Service tutor and Katie Barnicoat

Bullen Village near Ryde now has its own life-saving defibrillator thanks to the fundraising efforts of 12-year-old resident Katie Barnicoat.

Island Roads installed the device in Hornbeam Square free of charge and donated towards the cost of the kit after being contacted by Katie and her mum Emma Barnicoat.

Katie was inspired to fundraise after attending the Isle of Wight NHS Trusts Ambulance Service’s ‘Restart a Heart’ training session with her brother and sister, which was held at Ryde Fire Station last October. She learned how the machines can dramatically increase survival rates compared to CPR alone and was concerned that the nearest publicly accessible defibrillators to her village were several minutes away at Tesco and Busy Bee Garden Centre.

The Ryde Academy student set about fundraising the £1,150 needed to purchase the equipment, writing to local residents to ask for donations and contacting local businesses. She also organised a ‘Cinema Under the Stars’ event called ‘Scare in the Square’ where she showed ‘Casper’ and provided refreshments, raising £75.

Her actions have led to her being recently awarded a special commendation from the Isle of Wight NHS Trust Ambulance Training and Community Response Services.

Katie said: “I’m thrilled to see the defibrillator installed after months of fundraising. The Restart A Heart training taught me that access to a defibrillator can make the difference between life and death, so I felt it was really important that we had one in our community.

“I am really grateful to everyone who donated towards the new equipment and to local businesses for their support. I also secured a grant from the British Heart Foundation, which enabled me to buy a training kit containing a DVD and ten dummies so that we can train as many local residents as possible how to use the new equipment.”

Louise Walker, head of ambulance training and community response services at the Isle of Wight Ambulance Service, said: “The ambulance service would like to sincerely thank and praise Katie for her outstanding actions that have led to Bullen Village having this important equipment.

“By fundraising, gaining part funding from the British Heart Foundation and obtaining local support and awareness, Katie has enabled the community to gain the availability of a defibrillator 24/7.

“When someone goes into cardiac arrest their survival rate without a defibrillator is approximately five to seven per cent. If a defibrillator is available and used within three minutes their chance of survival may increase to as much as 74 per cent. Every minute we delay defibrillation to someone who needs it, their chance of survival decreases by ten per cent.

“We know that defibrillators really do save lives and we are very grateful to Katie for making yet another device ready for action on the Island.”

Katie’s fundraising efforts have been recognised by the Resuscitation Council UK and she has also been awarded the Principal’s Star of the Week at her school.

Stephen Ashman, service director at Island Roads, said: “We were really inspired by the care and consideration shown by Katie for her local community so were delighted to donate to her cause and install this life saving kit at no cost. Katie is a great example to others and should be very proud of her achievements.”

Picture shows from left to right Scott Burborough, Island Roads powered apparatus manager, Duncan Walker, Ambulance Service tutor and Katie Barnicoat