THE CORNISHMAN's Heart Start campaign to get more lifesaving equipment in public places took a major leap towards achieving its goal last week after a supermarket chain pledged its support.
The Co-operative Food has confirmed it will become the prime retail partner for the Ronnie Richards Memorial Charity (RRMC) in Cornwall as it introduces a defibrillator into its store on Tregenna Place, St Ives.
The equipment is the third defibrillator to be installed at a Co-operative store since the beginning of the year and now the company's area manager, Chris Arnold, has said he would like to see every branch in Devon and Cornwall follow suit.
Mr Arnold, regional operations manager, said: "It has been great to get a really positive partnership off the ground with the Ronnie Richards Memorial Charity involving several stores in Cornwall and having realised what a huge difference the availability of this equipment can make. I'm really keen to drive our support forward to ensure as many communities as possible have a defibrillator available. You never know when a cardiac emergency could take place."
The supermarket chain made history in February when its Wherrytown shop in Penzance became the first supermarket in Cornwall to have a public access defibrillator on site.
That device, which can be used to save a person's life in the event they suffer a sudden cardiac arrest, was paid for by a donation from Penzance Lions' club.
The defibrillator at Co-op, Corner House, St Just, was funded by St Just Town Council.
In St Ives, staff at the store raised £700 to pay for their defibrillator – a feat RRMC founder Paul Williams described as amazing.
He said: "They are the first staff of a supermarket to actually fundraise for themselves and that is fantastic.
"We help people who help themselves and I'm hoping other businesses nearby will also start fundraising."
The Co-op at Lostwithiel is also set to get one in the coming weeks, paid for by the local Rotary Club.
The stores all provide a central location in the community to access the emergency equipment.
Mr Williams added: "The support of The Co-operative has been so important to us this year and placing defibrillators in food stores makes so much sense with their community locations and long opening hours. I'm delighted the support for our work will be extended into next year and it is sure to make a real difference to our mission, which is to save lives and improve lives."
For more information on the RRMC, contact Mr Williams on 01736 360864 or 07581 188043 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or alternatively to Johanna Carr at email@example.com