A group of local Northern Ireland football fans have set themselves the goal of raising enough money to purchase a defibrillator that will be available 24/7 for the community in Dromore.
The 14-strong group of Green And White Army supporters, who meet in Boyles Bar in the town, are hoping to raise £2,000 - £3,000 - enough to pay for an automated external defibrillator, associated storage equipment and ongoing running costs.
Local man Keith Scott explained how one of the group, Paul Rodgers, first raised the idea of starting a fundraising campaign and the others, some of whom are involved with coaching youth sport in the area, quickly got behind it.
“There was one (a defibrillator) in Meeting Street but it disappeared, possibly due to vandalism, so there is just an empty cabinet there now. Many of us walk past it regularly and we just got talking and said we should do something about it,” Keith told the Leader.
“When you’re involved in youth sport the importance of things like this come to your attention because we’ve all heard of tragedies like kids collapsing on pitches and things like that. But this is more about making sure there is one (a defibrillator) that’s accessible to everyone in the town,” the 51-year-old added.
A separate fundraising campaign in the area, set up following the tragic sudden death of 10-year-old Isobel Anderson at Dromore Central Primary in September, raised more than £6,400 for the purchase of defibrillators for a number of local schools.
It’s understood Keith and his fellow NI supporters are planning to get in touch with the organisers of that campaign to see if they can help out with funds towards the public defibrillator.
“It is a community service for the local town. I think it is important that there is one of these that’s available to everyone in the town 24/7. It’s great that there are ones in schools and such like, but obviously they are only available during school hours,” Keith continued. “Whilst there are other defibrillators in the town, a crucial aspect of this defibrillator will be accessibility 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.”
The group are hoping to locate the new public defibrillator on a wall at Castle Street or another suitable location in the town, preferably one covered by CCTV.
Their first official fundraising event - a Charity Night at The Races - will take place in Boyles of Dromore on Friday, November 17 from 8pm.
Horses can be purchased from Boyles Bar for £5 each, and races sponsored for £30. There will be prizes, including vouchers and bottles of wine, for the winning owners.
The organisers have thanked all the local businesses and organisations that have already signed up to be race sponsors.
For more information about the defibrillator fundraising campaign check out the ‘Dromore Public Defib’ Facebook page.