THE CORNISHMAN'S Heart Start campaign has reached yet another milestone in its drive to get 100 public access defibrillators (PADs) installed across the county.
It has now reached the halfway mark with 51 lifesaving devices either already in place at locations across Cornwall, on order or the subject of active fundraising campaigns.
The amazing achievement is thanks to the overwhelming support of Cornishman readers who have donated, raised funds and offered up their businesses as locations.
At the beginning of the year this paper, along with the Penzance-based Ronnie Richards Memorial Charity (RRMC), launched a campaign to get more of the lifesaving devices in west Cornwall schools, communities and public places.
At that time there were only seven public access defibrillators in Cornwall – all paid for and installed by the RRMC and its founder, Paul Williams.
The news that 51 PADs are either ready for use now or shortly to be available comes just a week after Co-operative Food announced that it would become the prime retail partner for Heart Start and raise funds for defibrillators for all its Devon and Cornwall stores in 2014.
This commitment means the Heart Start campaign will more than meet its target in the coming months.
The acting editor of The Cornishman, Richard Best, said: "To get to a situation where there are more than 50 public access defibrillators in Cornwall in so short a space of time is testament to all the hard work that has gone into this campaign.
"Congratulations surely go to Paul Williams for his tireless commitment. There's little doubt that lives will be saved as a result of this campaign.
"We now all look forward to reaching the 100 mark."
As well as supporting provisioni of the equipment, The Cornishman is also committed to seeing 500 members of the public trained to use it.
So for around 150 people have learnt this vital skill.
Mr Williams said: "Gone will be the dark ages of unnecessary, unacceptable cardiac death claiming a person every five minutes in the UK including, tragically, five children every week in our schools.
"In 2014 the confident expectation is for 150-plus PADs with thousands trained to use them."
This year, through the hard work of Mr Williams, the campaign has achieved many major steps towards making Cornwall a safer place in which to suffer a sudden heart problem.
A strong working relationship with the South Western Ambulance Service Trust (SWAST) has been established, with all PAD sites being linked to the trust's operational system, meaning 999 callers will be directed to the nearest available defibrillator.
Talks are well under way with Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service to facilitate community training at all its county fire stations.
The RRMC has also teamed up with all the schools in the Penwith Education Trust, and in particular Humphry Davy School, to raise funds for equipment and provide training for pupils.
Mr Williams said in Jersey PADs had been deployed 15 times and saved 12 lives.
To find out more, or to donate money towards equipment, visit www.rrmc.webs.com or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, or call Mr Williams on 01736 360864 or 07581 188043.
The RRMC is a charity run by volunteers.