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Sittingbourne parkrun organisers are raising money for a defibrillator for their events at Milton Creek Country Park

A popular community run is appealing for donations towards a life-saving device.

The volunteers who organise Sittingbourne parkrun, a weekly 5k at Milton Creek Country Park attracting about 150 people, want to raise £1,000 to buy a defibrillator to have on standby in case of emergencies.

Similar runs are held across the country at 9am every Saturday and the national parkrun organisation wants all of its 400-plus groups to have access to an AED (Automated External Defibrillator).

Runners at a parkrun at Milton Creek in Sittingbourne
Runners at a parkrun at Milton Creek in Sittingbourne

Each device – which gives an electric shock to restart the heart – costs at least £800.

Many other groups use defibrillator already in place nearby but there are none close enough to the country park.

Jackie Wells, Sittingbourne parkrun organiser, said: “We’ve raised about £300 so far and are still looking for donations.

Jackie Wells, Event Director
Jackie Wells, Event Director

“With people having heart attacks all over the country, it’s been bought to our attention again recently.

“We have a nurse who marshals regularly and if we can get one she will train the rest of us for free.”

The group plans to bring the defibrillator with them each week, so it would be easily accessible if an emergency did occur.

“I hope we never have to use it, we’ve had people falling over and grazing their knees and that’s enough as it is. We get more and more runners coming every week so we’d like to get it sooner rather than later.”

Nearby groups in Great Lines, Gillingham, and Whitstable already have access to the machines.

Helen Hood, head of event delivery at parkrun UK, said: “We take pride in the fact that parkrun is a safe, fun and inclusive environment where people enjoy free physical activity every week.

“With 130,000 people taking part every weekend across the UK and this number rising all the time, the chance of a serious incident occurring also increases.

“Whilst we know there are many qualified medical professionals within our communities, last year we commenced a programme that will see all UK parkruns have access to an AED.”

She said 86% of the 450 5ks had access and the aim was to complete the rollout during 2018.

Donations to the Sittingbourne defibrillator appeal can be made via parkrun.org.uk/sittingbourne/aboutus

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