T is time to take life-saving action.
That is the message from Saints legend Lawrie McMenemy, who has teamed up with the Daily Echo to lead the charge to get defibrillators in every Hampshire school.
As part of our Save a Life in Schools campaign, Lawrie is calling on businesses, charities and parents in Hampshire to come together and ensure that every school in the county has a defibrillator.
The campaign started after 16-year-old Sam Mangoro collapsed during a PE lesson at Mountbatten School and was saved by quick-thinking teachers who shocked him with the equipment four times, restarting his heart.
Lawrie said: “Defibrillators should, in my opinion, be provided in all our schools.
“If Mountbatten had not had a defibrillator then the teenage lad would not have lived; it’s that simple.
“But it would also be a good thing to have them in other places around Southampton so I’m appealing for businesses and firms to provide one for their own workplace and while they are doing that, donate one to a school.
“They are not expensive, the business could put their name on it and if we could get some businesses to buy them in bulk you could probably get a discount.
“And if individuals, charities and parent groups could get involved, it would be great because it’s a worthy cause.”
As reported by the Daily Echo, only 22 of 57 secondary schools in our area have access to the life-saving equipment.
Lawrie is no stranger to the subject, having been involved in supporting the Joe Humphries Memorial Trust in Leicester, named after the 14-year-old son of former Saints academy goalkeeper Steve Humphries.
Joe collapsed and died while jogging just yards from his home in 2012 and Lawrie has supported the charity by appearing at its events and helping raise awareness.
And it has led to the creation of the Leicestershire Heartsafe Schools programme, which aims to provide every secondary school in the county with a defibrillator and ensured CPR training for more than 12,000 Year 10 pupils.
It is estimated that 12 people in the UK aged 12 to 35 die every week from undiagnosed heart problems.
Now Lawrie is calling on something similar to happen in Southampton to prevent future tragedies.
He said: “I will be asking for help from the council from the mayor down to the councillors who represent the people we are talking about.”
Southampton City Council does not have a policy on defibrillators and leaves it up to a school to decide whether to carry a defibrillator, as does Hampshire County Council.
Lawrie added that he would also be approaching Southampton Solent University to see if they could provide CPR sessions so people could be prepared in similar situations to Sam’s.
He said: “Solent has one of the best fitness sections in the country and Saints players go there during pre-season. I will be asking if they would be prepared to give parents or anybody else interested a session to show them how to do CPR.
“If everybody pulls together there is no reason why this time next year we could not have defibrillators all around the town and in our schools and companies.”
Meanwhile Sam has launched his own appeal, the All Heart Campaign, to raise funds to buy defibrillators for Hampshire schools.
And as reported by the Daily Echo, he has already had his first success after South Central Ambulance Se-rvice agreed to donate the equipment to his former school Crestwood College in Eastleigh.