Community Volunteer – Dave Swarbrook
Leek resident Dave Swarbrook is the volunteer defibrillator champion that every town should have. Dave’s friend, David McNeaney, better known as ‘Macca’ to his many friends, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly following a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) on New Year’s Eve 2020.
Wanting to do something positive in memory of his friend, Dave, along with Macca’s family, decided it would be a suiting tribute to site an automatic electronic defibrillator (AED) in an empty phone box near to where Macca had been found collapsed.
Building on fundraising started by local councillor, Ben Emery, they decided to get involved and galvanise the appeal to save lives in the future by creating a memorial donations page with AEDdonate in Macca’s memory.
Several weeks later the appeal had raised enough money to pay for not one, but five AEDs around the town.
Having read that ideally you should be no further than 90 seconds away from an AED to have a fighting chance of surviving an SCA, Dave worked with AEDdonate to ensure there was appropriate lifesaving cover around the town centre. This included him adding all of Leek’s AEDs to Google Maps to help identify where additional ones were needed.
There were further appeals happening in and around Leek and Dave linked all of these to AEDdonate so we could help with the fundraising. Within weeks AEDs were being delivered in more locations including a golf club, a boxing academy, pubs and Leek Cricket Club. In just two years the town’s community public access defibrillator cover has increased from just eight to over 30 and there have already been several deployments of these AEDs.
Dave worked with a friend involved in PR to publicise the AED installations, reinforcing the message that you can never have enough AEDs which led to a large employer funding a further AED just outside the town centre.
If this wasn’t enough Dave arranged training for 50 staff from Leek town-centre shops and businesses as a full day First Aid at Work course or a shorter two-hour evening session.
Dave has now identified all the AEDs in the Staffordshire Moorlands district and as a result the town, parish and district councils are looking at a funding package to enable the maintenance and management of all the 130 plus AEDs which are registered with The Circuit across the district.
We can’t thank Dave enough for everything he has done to save lives in his community and AEDdonate’s challenge is now to find someone in every town and city the length and breadth of the country who can ‘be like Dave’.