A NETWORK of lifesaving defibrillators has been set up following the death of popular woman who died of a heart attack.

Gemma Robson, a prison officer from Coxhoe, died in January 2017, while enjoying a night out in the village pub.

The 35-year-old suffered a heart attack as a result of medication she was taking for lupus.

Following her death, Nicola Dodsworth, her friend and secretary of Coxhoe Village Hall, started a campaign to have the machines fitted.

She said: “Unfortunately the idea was borne out of a tragedy. The devastation to Gemma’s family and friends was there for all to see and I thought about what we could do as a community to help prevent such a sad loss in the future.”

The defibrillators have been installed at Coxhoe Village Hall, Croxdale Community Centre, Kelloe Working Men’s Club and Quarrington Hill and District Social Club.

Ms Dodsworth started raising the funds needed by going around businesses in Coxhoe, with the remaining cost made up by parish councils and Coxhoe county councillors Stuart Dunn and Maura McKeon, who both contributed £2,854 from their neighbourhood budgets

She added: “I was delighted with the response from the local community, the parish council, county councillors and some of the businesses who freely donated towards something we all hope we never need.”

“I am pleased for the community that we have been able to provide this life critical support which may save someone’s life.”

The North East Ambulance Service will be providing training to ensure people are confident about using the machines, though they can be used without any previous experience.

Michael Wilkes, Spennymoor Area Action Partnership coordinator, said: “Providing this lifesaving piece of equipment for our communities is something which we want to promote and continue to raise awareness of.

“We need to ensure that our residents know where the defibrillators, however it is just as important to know that this equipment is easy to use and there should be no hesitation in any of us using them.”

Training sessions take place at Coxhoe Village Hall on Thursday, October 18, from 6pm-8pm and at Quarrington Hill community centre on Thursday, October 9 from 6pm-8pm.

  • Email Karen.Williams@coxhoeparishcouncil.gov.uk or call 0191 3773658 to book a space.