Defibrillators will be fitting legacy for Shropshire man

A Memorial Trust with the ambition of saving as many lives as possible is being launched in Shrewsbury today.

Sally Angell-James
Sally Angell-James

The Henry Angell-James Memorial Trust (HAJMT) aims to purchase as many Automatic External Defribrillators (AED) as possible.

The launch, at St Alkmunds Church, is to create a legacy in honour of Mr Angell-James, who was 54 when he passed away in October 2017 after suffering a cardiac arrest on his regular train journey home from Birmingham to Shrewsbury.

His wife, Sally, felt she wanted to put something back into the community that had been such an important part of her husband’s life.

"Henry had always believed that the simplest ideas were the best and hence an idea was formed to set up a charity with a clear and straightforward aim," she said.

'The UK's biggest killer'

“Heart disease is the UK’s biggest killer and sudden cardiac arrest can happen to anyone, even those who are seemingly healthy.

“Whenever cardiac arrest strikes, there is absolutely no time to lose.

"Therefore, we have set up the Henry Angell-James Memorial Trust to help fund and provide as many defibrillator in communities that really need them, starting in the West Midlands. Who knows where this idea will take us.”

The memorial trust is working in partnership with West Midlands Ambulance Service, who will provide free training and advice on the best place in the community for the defibrillators to be installed.

Tom Bradby, presenter of ITV’s News at Ten, and a family friend has agreed to be an ambassador for the charity.

The ambulance service says the aim is to get defibrillators installed in town centres, villages and rural communities; be that village halls, train stations, the village post office or shop or a defunct telephone box.

'Importance cannot be underestimated'

Cliff Medlicott, community response manager for the ambulance service, said: “The importance of the work that the memorial trust is undertaking cannot be underestimated, it will undoubtedly help to save lives.

“The chance of a person surviving a cardiac arrest falls by 10 per cent for every minute that passes without an AED being used.

"Survival rates can be as high as 75 per cent when patients are treated with the right care and a defibrillator in time.

"Therefore, I would urge anyone who thinks they could house a defibrillator, or if you wish to make a donation, to make contact with the trust.”

Mrs Angell-James continued: “Applications will be considered on their own merits. Unfortunately, we only have limited funds so not every request will be successful.

"The great thing about raising money for an AED is that it is an achievable goal and by having one, a life could be saved.”

Mr Bradby, said: “We all know heart disease is a significant killer and that defibrillators can make the difference between life and death, so this is an incredibly important cause and I am extremely honoured to be an ambassador.

"Sally and Henry are very old friends, his loss was a terrible tragedy, and it is fantastic to be able to do this in his memory.”

To find out more about HAJMT, make a donation or apply for a defibrillator, visit their website or email info@henryangelljamesmemorialtrust.co.uk

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