Honour for heart kit parents

Richard Waight, died in his sleep aged just 23 from sudden arrythmia death syndrome
Richard Waight, died in his sleep aged just 23 from sudden arrythmia death syndrome

A Doncaster couple have been honoured for their pledge to equip the borough’s schools with defibrillators following their son’s sudden death.

Ken and Jackie Waight vowed to do what they could to stop other families from going through the same heartache they did when their son, Richard, died suddenly in his sleep in November 2009 from sudden arrhythmia death syndrome – SADS.

Since last summer, the couple have been working with national charity SADS UK to distribute defibrillators – the very equipment which could have saved Richard’s life – to as many schools as they can across Doncaster.

And the couple have now been honoured for their hard work after being awarded the National Community Defibrillator Award at a glittering celebratory awards dinner held by charity SADS UK.

Anne Jolly, founder of SADS UK, the Ashley Jolly SAD Trust, said: “SADS UK is grateful to Ken Waight who has supported the SADS UK Big Shock Campaign, which aims put defibrillators in all schools to help save lives.

“The charity knows defibrillators in schools are saving lives. Over the last two years, teams of teachers have been honoured for saving lives.

“This demonstrates how important it is to have this lifesaving equipment on school premises, using CPR alone provides a five per cent chance of survival but early use of the defibrillator as well increases the chance of survival to more than 50 per cent.”

Ken, of Boat Lane, Sprotbrough, said of the award: “It was a total surprise to be nominated for an award and not something we could ever have in any way expected.

“Our work with the defibrillators is something we want to do, to help others and in our son Richard’s memory. It is just good to know that it is appreciated. I’d like to thank everyone who has supported us in our campaign.”

The couple have donated an impressive 18 defibrillators to schools across the borough so far, and are now set to donate another to the Doncaster Knights’ ground after winning a defibrillator in a raffle at the awards dinner earlier this month.

The couple cover the cost of the reconditioned defibrillators they donate in part through funds raised at the annual Richard Waight Memorial Golf Day. They raised a record-breaking £7,200 at this year’s event.

Ken and Jackie have now run out of defibrillators, and anyone who can donate one should email them at kenwaight@outlook.com