Rugby club welcomes new defibrillator after fundraising efforts

A rugby club has received a new defibrillator after months of fundraising and some much-appreciated help from a charity.

Thursday, 16th December 2021, 5:00 am

Jarrovians RUFC have been presented with the equipment, courtesy of the Richmond Heavies Foundation, the charitable arm of Richmond Rugby Club in Surrey.

The foundation was set up after the the deaths of three rugby stars who had all played for Richmond. One of them, Ian Williams, was just 27 when he died after collapsing in training for Doncaster Knights in 2018.

One of the conditions of receiving the defibrillator was that Jarrovians had to provide funds themselves to pay for the maintenance of the facility for four years. Once that was done, the defibrillator was donated.

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From left: Tom Wilson, rugby club member and stalwart of Luke's Lane Community Centre, fundraiser Ashleigh Gascoigne holding the defibrillator and Brian Berry, Jarrovians RUFC chairman.

Money was raised largely through the efforts of two friends of the club, Liam Clark and Ashleigh Gascoigne. A number of fundraisers were held raising £1,000, while Ashleigh ran in September’s Great North Run to bring in another £400.

However, the wheels were first put in motion by a now-retired safeguarding officer on behalf of the club and the community centre.

Jarrovians play their home games at Luke’s Lane sports field in Hebburn, which is used by many other people apart from the rugby club. Luke’s Lane Community Centre is based there too and is a hub for many activities, participated in by people of all ages.

The defibrillator will be kept in the grounds and, while no one wants it to ever be needed, it offers peace of mind to many.

Sam Rawsterne, honorary secretary of Old Jarrovians, is delighted with the new equipment and very grateful.

She said: “It’s not just going to be for the rugby club; it’s for everyone who uses our facilities. We also have things like fitness classes and a jazz band.

"Then there are spectators too. We’ve seen incidents recently with spectators at football matches.

“All sorts of people use Luke’s Lane for all different reasons. There’s lots of people who will have access to the defibrillator if ever it needs to be used – although hopefully it won’t.

“I would like to thank Richmond Heavies, as well as Ashleigh and Liam. There’s no way we would have been able to have this equipment without them.”

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