SWR donates lifesaving defibrillator to local primary school

Wednesday 21st June 2023

Group of 5 people standing with a defibrillator on the platform of Hedge End station in Hampshire

  • South Western Railway continues the rollout of publicly accessible defibrillators to all 154 of its staffed stations 
  • The installation of a new defibrillator at Hedge End station in Hampshire means SWR can donate the original one at the station to a local school free of charge 
  • The machine was presented to the Community Opportunity Coordinator of Berrywood Primary School on Monday  
  • The donated defibrillator was funded by the voluntary station adopter for Hedge End station, who works in the SWR Occupational Health department 

SWR has donated a lifesaving defibrillator to a local primary school in Hampshire on Monday.  

The train operator, which runs trains throughout Hampshire and across South West London, the South East and the South West of England, presented the machine to Berrywood Primary School at Hedge End station, near Southampton.  

Attending the presentation at the station, which is a short walk from the school, were representatives from SWR, Works Delivery Manager Stephen Clark and Senior Regional Development Manager Phil Dominey. 

Bradley Scott, representing Integral UK Ltd, the contractor working with SWR to deliver to defibrillator rollout, handed the defibrillator to the Community Opportunity Coordinator of the school, Lisa Yeoman. 

The donation comes as SWR continues the rollout of new publicly accessible defibrillators at all of its 154 staffed stations, for use day or night by colleagues, customers, and local communities, across one of the country’s largest railway networks.   

As part of this rollout, the original defibrillator at Hedge End station has been replaced with a newer machine that can be remotely monitored to ensure it is always maintained and ready to use.  

This has allowed SWR to provide the original defibrillator to the school free of charge, spreading the benefits of the rollout even further, and helping to keep members of the local community safe in the event of emergencies.  

Sheree Whetren, an SWR Occupational Health and Wellbeing Technician, who is the station adopter for Hedge End, fundraised for the original defibrillator donated to the school, and was also at the presentation.  

Station adopters are volunteers who look after and enhance their local station, so they best serve the communities that use them, part of the community rail movement. 

Claire Mann, Managing Director of South Western Railway, commented: 

“Sudden arrhythmic death syndrome and other heart conditions can impact us all. I’m so pleased that we are making good progress on installing defibrillators at our staffed stations, and we have also been able to donate this machine to a local school, showing our commitment to the communities we serve.” 

Paul Holmes, Member of Parliament for Eastleigh, commented: 

“I’m delighted to see SWR donate a defibrillator to Berrywood Primary School in Hedge End, and to see their rollout of defibrillators at all their staffed stations continue at pace.  

“These machines will be a valuable asset for local communities and could very well prove to be lifesaving, and I thank SWR for this investment.” 

Chris Reilly, Headteacher of Berrywood Primary School, commented: 

“Our huge thanks go to SWR for donating to Berrywood a defibrillator machine. This fantastic lifesaving equipment will now be installed at school, and although we hope never to put it to use, it is reassuring to know it will be there in the event of an emergency. This is a fantastic example of community organisations working in partnership. 

“Once again, thank you all concerned for making it happen!” 

Bradley Scott, Projects Manager for Integral UK Ltd, commented: 

“It’s a privilege to work with SWR on a potentially lifesaving scheme such as this. Initiatives like this are so important, not just for the colleagues and customers, but also the local public, and I’m proud to be a part of that.”

The rollout of the defibrillators was announced at a train naming ceremony at London Waterloo station in March, where a train was dedicated to the Alex Wardle Foundation. 

The charity campaigns to raise awareness of sudden arrhythmic death syndrome (SADS), when someone dies suddenly and unexpectedly from a cardiac arrest, particularly young, apparently healthy, people. 

It was set up in memory of Alex Wardle, a medical student and son of an SWR operations trainer, who passed away from SADS in March 2016.