Defibrillators to be installed after Portishead pulls together

Teams young and old joined the defibrillator challenge

Two defibrillators will be installed in Portishead thanks to a massive fundraising effort by the town. - Credit: Tracey Fowler

Two public access defibrillators will be installed in Portishead thanks to a huge fundraising day held in the town.

The event was organised by a husband and wife duo Kathryn and Steve Harper - and saw people from as far away as Canada get involved.

Kathryn and Steve recently became the new owners of Walnut Grove Clinic, in Slade Road, where they have worked for many years.

Kathryn and Steve Harper on the last leg of their fundraising cycle

Kathryn and Steve Harper on the last leg of their fundraising cycle - Credit: Tracey Fowler

Kathryn said: “Portishead Lions have done a fantastic job installing 30 defibrillators in and around Portishead, but there is a need for more.

"When it was highlighted the area around our clinic in Slade Road needed a defibrillator it felt natural to say we would help raise the funds to buy it.

"On further inspection, we realised there is also a need for a defibrillator in the area around our Functional Fitness Studio in Paper Mill Gardens, adjacent to Harbour Road Trading Estate and so added that to the plan too.”

The Harpers decided to host an event that invited members of the community to help them clock up at least 874 miles, the distance from Land's End to John O'Groats by road.

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On June 25, with a fundraising target of £3,000, participants ran, walked, cycled, swam, rowed and even windsurfed with sponsorship before submitting their miles to the final tally.

Scores of people attended defibrillator demonstrations

Scores of people attended defibrillator demonstrations - Credit: Tracey Fowler

Kathryn explained: “On the day, we opened the clinic with six bikes on the go and invited people to sign up to a slot and cycle some miles with us.

"We were absolutely bowled over, not only by the number of people who turned up to cycle but by the support we received from people far and wide.

"Local businesses joined in counting their steps for the day and converting them into miles, North Somerset Athletics Club and local football teams ran to raise funds, dog walkers joined in, Portishead Gig Club rowed, we had dancers at Glastonbury, paddle boarders; windsurfers from overseas took part including Zara from Walnut Grove and we even had a group hiking in Canada.

"We needed to cover 874 miles and we smashed it, raising more than £3,700 with funds still coming in.

"We also made £623 on the day with a cake sale at the clinic from people popping in to support the cyclists and watch our defibrillator demonstrations.”

The team at Tonic Hair and Beauty counted steps and held a cake sale

The team at Tonic Hair and Beauty counted steps and held a cake sale - Credit: Tracey Fowler

The two defibrillators will be installed over the coming months and Portishead Lions have agreed to add defibrillators to their ongoing maintenance programme.

Donations can be made towards maintaining the defibrillators by visiting www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/walnutgrove-defibrillator-challenge