Defibrillator campaign victory for city pensioner

Bletchley Leisure Centre
Bletchley Leisure Centre

With a little help from the Citizen, a campaign to install a life-saving defibrillator at Bletchley Leisure Centre has been given the go-ahead by Milton Keynes Council.

For pensioner Tom Borland it has been a battle hard-won, with only seven out of 40 city councillors responding to his recent recommendation that the facility – which applies an electric shock to the heart during cardiac arrest – should be readily available in all sport and fitness clubs in the city.

Although Tom received plenty of support from the general public, the campaign only really started to gather pace once Councillor Chris Williams of Furzton ward got involved, and the story was publicised in the Citizen last month.

Tom, 77, began pumping life into his defibrillator campaign after he witnessed two gym members collapse on two separate occasions.

The most recent involved a 40-year-old man whose life was saved by gym manager John Burkham at DW Sports and Fitness Club.

Ever since Tom has been determined to ensure that one of the £1,000 machines is installed in Bletchley Leisure Centre, and every other city leisure centre.

Staff working in the gym will be required to train to use the defibrillator which will be operational by September.

“This is an encouraging story of MK Council listening to the concerns of the general public,” said Tom.

“This is a case of common sense prevailing. It is so little cost compared to saving a life.”

Cllr Williams said: “Even if it is never used, having this at the leisure centre will bring peace of mind to those who use the facilities, including the swimming pool.

“But of course there should be a defibrillator at all leisure centres and we will continue to campaign for that.”