Defibs in Schools

A mother from Rochester, whose eight year old son died from a heart attack, is backing an urgent appeal to get defibrillators installed in all schools.

Charlie Morette collapsed while playing rounders at Sutton-at-Hone CofE Primary School in May 2007. He had just hit the ball and was running between the posts when his heart suddenly stopped.

The schoolboy was given CPR by a teacher who had been trained in first aid, and was then taken to Darent Valley hospital where he was pronounced dead.

His mother Allison Spalding says Charlie's death was a massive shock because he was so healthy and fit and loved sport. Now she raises money and awareness for a group called Cardiac Risk in Youth and is also linked to SADS UK - Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome charity.

Figures from SADS UK show 270 heart attacks happen in British schools every year, yet just 80 of the 30,000 primaries and secondaries in the UK have access to an automated external defibrillator (AED) which can be operated by members of the public with little training.

Now the charity is launching the Big Shock campaign, calling on the Government to pass legislation making the devices mandatory in schools.

A defibrillator delivers an electric shock to a stopped heart that can get it pumping again, but action must be taken quickly to prevent death or brain damage.

Allison Spalding has told Heart says she is backing the campaign and wants to do something positive in Charlie's memory, and put every safeguard in place to prevent another parent and child from going through the same thing.