COMMUNITIES in Hampshire will benefit from a new £1 million fund launched to make publicly-accessible defibrillator machines more widely available across the country.

Nearly 30,000 people suffer a cardiac arrest away from hospitals every year and fewer than one in ten survive.

But a bystander giving immediate CPR and defibrillation can drastically improve chances of recovery.

Now the British Heart Foundation is now inviting applications for kits from organisations including charities and community groups and social enterprises after a £1 million grant from the Department of Health.

The announcement has been backed by Botley couple Graham and Anne Hunter who have fought for the installation of defibrillators in their area following the death of their daughter Claire Reed from a rare heart condition.

The Daily Echo is also backing a campaign to install more defibrillators in Hampshire schools after 16-year-old pupil Sam Mongoro was saved with one when he suffered a heart attack at Mountbatten School in Romsey.

In 2015 700 defibrillators were made available in communities across England, including 148 in the South East, following the first round of government funding.

At that time the then Chancellor George Osborne had in part been inspired by the Hunters’ story.

As previously reported Claire, from Eastleigh, collapsed and died from Sudden Adult Death Syndrome (SADS) while celebrating at a hen do in Taunton in March, 2013.

She was just 22, fit and healthy and had wed her husband Andy five months previously.

Since then her parents have helped install defibrillators in public places in their neighbourhood including Botley Village Hall and have funded health screenings for more than 1,300 young people in their area.

Mr Hunter, 63, said: “The more defibrillators we can get out there the better.

“We know that they save lives and we hope that they will one day be as established as fire extinguishers and first aid kits.

“Losing a daughter or son is terrible - you never get over it - but we hope that this fund can help ensure that other families do not suffer in the same way.”

Successful applicants will receive CPR and defibrillator training to teach them how to use them.

BHF chief executive Simon Gillespie said: “We’re urging organisations up and down the country to join us in creating a Nation of Lifesavers by making public access defibrillators readily available in their communities and by giving people the skills and confidence to save a life.”

See to apply for funding.