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Daughter campaigns for life-saving defibrillator on Stansted's main road where her father collapsed and died

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A bereaved daughter is fundraising for a defibrillator to be installed along Stansted's main road after the death of her father, who she believes could still be alive had the life-saving equipment been closer.

Simon Bowles was just 54 when he suffered a cardiac arrest in the back of his sister and brother-in-law's car as they stopped for petrol at the BP fuel station on the B1383 Cambridge Road on August 22 last year.

Despite the efforts of a member of the public, a first responder and land and air ambulance crews, he was unable to be resuscitated.

Rebecca Bowles with her father, Simon (54015335)
Rebecca Bowles with her father, Simon (54015335)

According to his daughter, Rebecca, it was 22 minutes from the time he collapsed until he was treated with a defibrillator to try to restart his heart. Ambulance crews who arrived after 10 minutes worked for 12 minutes trying to clear his airways before administering the shock treatment.

Simon's death from ischemic heart disease came as a total shock to the family, who described him as a fit, healthy and active grandfather who regularly cared for his nine-year-old grandson, Freddie.

With her emotions still understandably raw, Rebecca said she was channelling her anger and frustration into fundraising to ensure others in need of emergency treatment in the community would have help close by.

Simon Bowles pictured on a day out with his grandson, Freddie. (54015338)
Simon Bowles pictured on a day out with his grandson, Freddie. (54015338)

She has set up a gofundme.com page with the aim of raising £1,000 for a defibrillator at the garage, subject to that location being suitable.

"I want to raise the importance and awareness of having a defibrillator available," said Rebecca.

"I wouldn’t have a clue where to start finding one in Stansted, and if my dad had been shocked sooner, the outcome could have been better. We'll never know and that’s where my frustration and fundraising comes from – if there'd been one more local he could've been shocked quicker.

"It's well known that along with good quality CPR [cardiopulmonary resusciattion] early defibrillation is key to a better patient outcome and helps increase the chance of survival. I'd like to help other people if this was ever to occur in the area again and to also help prevent other families going through what we have as a family."

There are currently seven defibs at sites around the village. The closest to where Simon collapsed is at the Mountfitchet Exchange in Crafton Green.

According to Stansted Parish Council's website, the other locations are: Stansted Bowls Club, Recreation Ground, CM24 8BD; Lower Street telephone box, CM24 8LP; The Surgery, Castle Maltings, CM24 8XG; Romeera Leisure Centre, Forest Hall Road, CM24 8TZ; Rose & Crown pub, Bentfield Green, CM24 8HX; The Three Horseshoes pub, Hazel End, CM23 1HB.

Rebecca, who lives in Harlow, said her dad lived in Waltham Abbey and had worked at Sainsbury’s in Waltham Cross for 33 years. He was also a cleaner at his grandson's school, also in Waltham Cross.

On the day he died, he had been out with his sister and brother-in-law, who live in Stansted.

“He'd go and see my aunt and uncle every Sunday," she said. "He'd been round to see me in the morning and then gone out for lunch with them and they were driving back when they stopped to get petrol.

“Dad went in to get a bottle of Coke and got back into the car and was talking to my aunt when he suddenly stopped talking. He hadn’t said he felt unwell at all.

“My uncle noticed him slumped in the back of the car and pulled him out. A bystander started CPR and the ambulance and air ambulance were called. They tried to resuscitate him for over an hour.”

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