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Boyzone singer's trust backs Mail defib bid

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: August 18, 2014

By Rob Smyth

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THE family of a popstar who died suddenly are backing the Mail's campaign to get lifesaving devices

The Stephen Gately Trust is a charity set up to raise awareness of Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS) after the Boyzone star died aged 33 from the condition in 2009 at his home on the Spanish island of Majorca.

They are now aiming to raise funds to provide defibrillators for schools and sports clubs across the country including Burton and South Derbyshire.

This comes at the same time that the Mail continues its Stay Fit, Stay Alive to get more defibrillators introduced across the area after a 64-year-old man was left brain damaged and fighting for life after suffering a cardiac arrest while working out at a local gym.

A spokesman for the Stephen Gately Trust backed the Mail's campaign.

He said: "We are currently fund-raising to provide defibrillators to schools and sports clubs across the UK.

"More than 300 children under the age of 25 die after suffering sudden cardiac arrest each year.

"If a defibrillator is used within two minutes their survival rate exceeds 80 per cent – survival rate deteriorates by seven to 10 per cent per minute without defibrillation.

"The automated defibrillator is a small portable device, simple to use which will not give a shock unless the victim needs this treatment to start their heart."

Mr Gately's relatives launched the campaign due to the fact that they are convinced that lives could be saved if electrical defibrillators are made easier to access.

The singer's family launched the Stephen Gately Trust last year with the support of his former bandmates to raise awareness of SADS.

Mr Gately's sister-in-law Claire said: "Stephen was fit, he was healthy. We got the phone call to tell us what had happened, and obviously the family were completely shocked.

"We just didn't expect somebody at 33 years old to die in their sleep of a heart condition."

A defibrillator takes the chance of survival after a sudden cardiac arrest from five per cent to 50 per cent.

A spokesman for the British Heart Foundation said: "The minutes saved by a device like this are crucial and the strategy has been responsible for saving many lives.

"These devices can be used safely even by untrained people who witness an arrest or who are nearby and can respond more quickly than the ambulance service."

So far, the Mail's campaign has won support from the likes of Burton MP Andrew Griffiths, the British Heart Foundation and Branston Golf and Country Club.

Prime Minister David Cameron has also backed the bid.

More information on the trust and how they could help clubs and schools in Burton and South Derbyshire is available at www.stephengatelytrust.ie

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