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Personal trainer buys defib for public's use in Bishop's Stortford

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Paragon Fitness, Bishops Stortford. Robbie Linsell with defib in place outside the gym. Pic: Vikki Lince
Paragon Fitness, Bishops Stortford. Robbie Linsell with defib in place outside the gym. Pic: Vikki Lince

A publicly accessible defibrillator has been installed at a Bishop's Stortford gym.

AEDs and cardiac arrest

A cardiac arrest is when a person’s heart suddenly stops pumping blood around their body. When this happens, the brain becomes starved of oxygen, and this causes the casualty to fall unconscious and stop breathing.

An AED used to deliver an electric shock to the heart through the chest wall, which restores the heart’s normal rhythm.

When a person suffers cardiac arrest, every minute that they do not receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and defibrillation reduces their survival rate by up to 10%.

Without any immediate treatment, 90-95% of cardiac arrests are fatal. However, if a defibrillator is used within three to five minutes of arrest, survival rates rise to 74% on average.

Robbie Linsell, owner of Paragon Fitness Studio on the Southmill Trading Centre, has had the lifesaving device installed to an outside wall so that it will be available 24 hours a day.

The former Bishop’s Stortford High School student started fundraising for the automated external defibrillator (AED) last year. He was prompted into action after attending a first aid course, where he learned of the impact defibs can have on a person’s chances of survival if they suffer a cardiac arrest.

To raise the £1,700 needed to buy the AED, Robbie staged a quiz night at Paragon – hosted by the Independent’s editor, Paul Winspear – and businesses donated prizes for a raffle.

Robbie also took part in two sponsored runs, the Hatfield Broad Oak 10k and the Great North Run, where he ran the 13.1-mile half-marathon distance while carrying a 27kg bag on his back – the weight that one of his gym-goers lost during his 180-day weight-loss programme.

Now Robbie has completed his AED mission, he has switched his attentions to his next fundraising task: a nautical adventure named the Usain Boat challenge for a London-based organisation, the Ahoy Centre.

“We are now fundraising for a charity that helps youngsters with learning difficulties and conditions and others that need help to stay on the straight and narrow, via boat and shipping-type skills,” he explained.

“As part of it we’ll be rowing 50k down the Thames in October – seven of us, six rowing and one cox, and none of us have ever been in a rowing boat before.”

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