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A Shepherd Neame pub is putting itself literally at the heart of the community by taking delivery of a potentially life-saving piece of equipment.
The Highwayman in Horsmonden, near Tonbridge, now has a defibrillator, a machine to treat emergency heart conditions such as cardiac arrest, courtesy of South East Coast Ambulance Service (SEACamb).
The defibrillator is an integral part of SEACamb’s community responder scheme and volunteers are needed to be trained in its use. The scheme would allow responders in the village to react immediately to many first aid situations by using the defibrillator kept at the pub.
Claire Reed – who helps her mother, licensee Ann Millward, to run The Highwayman – investigated the possibility of storing the vital piece of equipment after concerns about the pub’s rural location.
She said: “A friend of ours who lives in the village phoned for an ambulance for his daughter and because of a hold-up on the roads it took nearly an hour to get here.
“We are setting up training sessions, so anyone interested in being a responder can attend.”
Fund-raising events are being planned in the hope of buying a second defibrillator to be stored at another location in the village.
The news of the scheme and the defibrillator’s arrival has already garnered plenty of enthusiastic support from villagers.
“We have had a very good response,” said Claire. “The parish council is fully behind us and already someone from the village has contacted us to say that they are holding a fund-raising event.
“One man in the village said to us, ‘I feel so much better knowing that it’s there.’ I hope it’s something we never need to use but it is fantastic that we have it.”