An 18-month long fundraising campaign to buy two defibrillators for the Crookes community has finally come to fruition after the first one was installed at Crookes Social Club.
The campaign began due to the heroics of Crookes Social Club manager, Maurice Champeau, 49, who saved the lives of two different men who both suffered heart attacks in the club within a week of each other, in May 2016.
Maurice, who himself had suffered a heart attack earlier that year, gave CPR to the men until ambulances carrying defibrillators arrived, but he realised the shortfalls of not having a defibrillator to hand “very, very quickly.”
The incidents inspired a campaign to raise £3,500 to purchase two defibrillators for the community and it was raised through raffles, donations, a charity abseil and £500 was raised through the local ward.
“This gives me peace of mind. Absolute peace of mind. First of all, if something happens in here when I need it I know how to work the machine and I can help people” said Maurice.
“Another very important part for me is that I’ve got a very weak heart myself, and to know that it’s here when I’m at work in case I need it is bloody lovely thank you very much!
“It’s a slightly selfish element but that hasn’t got any bearing on why we’ve done it. We did it because we decided our customers needed it. I hope they’re never, ever needed but now it’s there if it ever happens again.”
The first defibrillator is installed on a wall inside the patio of the club so it can be easily accessed by people inside or those playing on the bowling green. The second is to be installed outside Hallamshire Rugby Club so it’s available for the entire Crookes community.
Both men who Maurice saved are alive and well, with one of them even becoming a regular in the pub once again.
“For me that’s the inspiration, seeing him in here. He has his pint and half every week and he is still alive and has a good quality of life. That’s the difference that defibrillators can make for people” said Maurice.
The campaign isn’t stoping here, though. Maurice plans to continue to raise funds with a goal of purchasing two defibrillators for the community every year for the foreseeable future.