A fundraising campaign organised by Specsavers in Irvine has resulted in two life-saving defibrillator machines being installed in the Rivergate Shopping Centre.

Specsavers launched an appeal last year to raise £1,000 to purchase a defibrillator to be placed in the mall.

The centre management team were thrilled with the store’s efforts and pledged to match fundraising, allowing two defibrillators to be purchased and installed in the centre.

Watching a cardiac arrest

Gillian Syme, store director at Specsavers, came up with the idea for the fundraiser after watching a television programme which showed someone’s life being saved by a machine in a shopping centre. A defibrillator delivers an electric shock to the heart when someone is having a cardiac arrest.

She says: ‘The programme really got me thinking. I knew the shopping centre didn’t have a defibrillator and I thought this would be something that both stores and shoppers could benefit from.

Local people raising meoney to save future lives

‘The staff were all really keen to get involved and we were thrilled at how quickly we reached our target.’

The final £300 was donated by the social charity fund at the Porthead Tavern, in Irvine, as the pub is keen to support local causes.

Gillian added: ‘We are extremely grateful to everyone who donated to this great cause, and a special thanks to Brian Park and everyone at Porthead Tavern for their support and getting us to that all important total of £1,000.’

The machines are now installed in the centre and staff from the centre management team and other employees within the centre have taken part in a special training session so they are able to confidently use the machine in an emergency.

Patrick Robbertze, Centre Manager says: ‘When Gillian approached us with her idea to bring a defibrillator into the centre, we immediately recognised how important it could be to our shoppers.

‘We greatly appreciate the fantastic efforts by the Specsavers team and that is why we matched the funds raised. We sincerely hope that the defibrillators will never have to be used and hopefully their presence will provide our shoppers with some reassurance’.

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