Schoolboy‘s campaign behind potential life saver for Fife village

From: The Courier

A schoolboy’s public-spirited attitude and love for his late great-grandmother could soon save lives in the village where he lives.


Gregor Ferguson, 10, became the catalyst for a fundraising campaign for the installation of emergency medical equipment in Largoward. He heard an appeal for funds for a public-access defibrillator and knew it was something his great-gran, Rita Morton, would have supported.

At her funeral recently a collection was held that provided a substantial chunk of the money needed to purchase and install the kit and set the ball rolling for a wider community collection.

The easy-to-use defibrillator has been attached to the wall of Largoward Village Hall, for use if someone suffers a cardiac arrest. The equipment could prove the difference between life and death in the vital minutes before paramedics arrive.

Gregor’s proud mum Jennifer said: “Gregor did a lot for my grandmother; he would go to visit her every morning before school to check she was okay. He is also very into helping the community and would help anyone.

“We were talking as a family about what we would collect for at the funeral. She was a big part of the community all her married life and she would have been the one going round the doors collecting for something like the defibrillator.

“Gregor came up with the idea of collecting for that, which was a really nice thing to do.”

More than £400 was raised and an envelope collection in the community generated the remaining £500 needed. Grants of £500 and £200 were also provided by Fife Council and the Heart Foundation.

Largoward is the latest in a number of East Neuk villages to have public-access defibrillators installed with the support of local charity East Neuk First Responders, which has a team of trained volunteers who attend medical emergencies until paramedics arrive.

Tim Havard, a member of the village hall committee which pulled together the money, said: “Six months ago the Largoward community thought it would be a good idea to have this piece of medical equipment, which can greatly assist if someone has suffered a heart attack and needs urgent resuscitation.

“‘The sooner the treatment, the less the damage’ seems to be the message.

“The great thing is the equipment effectively runs itself and an in-built computer programme literally talks the user through the correct procedures. The machine monitors the condition of the patient and it decides if shock stimulation is required.

“Responders will still have to carry out artificial respiration but the patient will be in a much better state by the time the ambulance arrives, as compared to not having been defibrillated.”

Community training and awareness sessions have already been held and more are planned.

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