Defibrillator for Eastville Park in memory of teacher Chris

September 29 2021
Defibrillator for Eastville Park in memory of teacher Chris

A FAMILY has raised more than £2,000 to save lives in Eastville Park in memory of a much-loved husband and father.

Bernice Wicks and daughters Chaka, Mireille and Kiri (above left) started crowdfunding to buy a defibrillator after being shocked at watching Danish footballer Christian Eriksen collapse on the pitch during a European Championship game this summer, after suffering a cardiac arrest.

It brought back memories of their trauma when Chris Wicks (above right), who was 48, died of a sudden cardiac arrest, which happened while playing football with family and friends – including two of his daughters – in Eastville Park in September 2005.

Chris was fit, with no known health issues at the time of his death.

His family said: "He was a great husband, fun father and talented teacher. He loved the park and the dog walking community."

The family, who have lived near Eastville Park for more than 35 years, started an appeal on a crowdfunding website in early September to buy an automated external defibrillator, which can be used to deliver electric shocks to keep someone alive until paramedics arrive.

After just a week they had raised more than £2,000 – enough to buy a machine similar to the one which helped save Eriksen's life.

The family said: "We are overwhelmed by the support.

"We don’t know that a defibrillator would have saved our Dad but want to give anyone else in the same situation a fighting chance, and prevent other families from having to experience this kind of loss and trauma.

"Many families use the park to play football and other sports so we think it’s essential that the park users have access to a defibrillator."

The money will be given to the Friends of Eastville Park to buy and fit the defibrillator, with any extra used to pay maintenance costs.

The appeal is at justgiving.com/crowdfunding/defibforeastvillepark.

*A STAPLETON girl is raising money to buy a defibrillator for her football club's playing fields.

Annie Mooney (above) was also inspired to take action after seeing Christian Eriksen's life saved during Euro 2020, and is aiming to raise £1,450 to buy a defibrillator for Johnson Road playing fields in Mangotsfield, where her team, Downend Flyers, plays its home games.

Dad Tony, who is the club's chairman, said: "Annie loves football and was completely engrossed in the Euros on the TV, tuning in to as many matches as possible, including the match between Denmark and Finland when Christian Eriksen collapsed on the pitch from a cardiac arrest.

"As the sad incident unfolded Annie had lots of questions about what had happened and what had been done on the pitch to save his life.

"When the subject of a defibrillator was raised she asked if there was one at Johnson Road, just in case anything like that happened to a footballer there and, unfortunately, the answer was no."

Annie, who is 12, said: "I didn’t want someone to die playing football where I play."

She decided to start fundraising to buy and instal a defibrillator at the playing fields and has been fundraising for six weeks.

Defibrillators are used to give a high-energy electric shock to the heart of someone who is in cardiac arrest and, along with CPR, can keep a patient alive until they can be given professional treatment.

Once one is installed in a lockable cabinet at a venue, it can be accessed if someone has a cardiac arrest by calling 999 – emergency services have a code which can be used to unlock the cabinet, and can talk the user through the process of attaching pads to the patient's chest and administering a shock where necessary.

Annie has a crowdfunding page, which had raised more than £700 in pledges as the Voice went to press, and in September she ran a drinks and cakes stall at Johnson Road, raising £241.

The London Hearts charity, which supports provision of defibrillators and training in their use, has donated £300 and agreed to provide ongoing support.

Annie's target is £1,450.

To donate to Annie's appeal visit justgiving.com/crowdfunding/tony-mooney