A Hartshorne woman who racked up thousands of pounds to provide the people of South Derbyshire with lifesaving defibrillators, after being inspired by her daughter’s battle with a heart condition, is delighted they are in use after months of hard work.
Sarah Harrison, 35, was left heartbroken when her first child Owen was diagnosed with hypo-plastic left heart syndrome, and died when she was 24 weeks pregnant with him.
When she got pregnant with Kyra, now seven, she was assured there would only be a one per cent chance her daughter would be born with the same condition.
However, Kyra, who is a pupil at Woodville School, was diagnosed with the same condition when Sarah was 20 weeks pregnant, and has since undergone more than 20 operations including open heart surgery, has suffered brain damage and had e.coli and a septic hip, which meant she had to learn to walk again.
After being inspired by her daughter's health battles, Sarah decided to start fund-raising for a defibrillator and was shocked when supporters donated the £999 needed for the first machine in less than a week.
She has since gone on to raise enough money for four defibrillators, three of which are now in use across South Derbyshire.
Mother-of-four Sarah said she "never could have imagined what she has achieved" and she is still pinching herself that the machines are now ready to go.
She said: "It is brilliant and I am just so shocked. I only came up with the idea a couple of months ago and now there will be three brand new defibrillators in and around South Derbyshire.
"I am gobsmacked and really overwhelmed with what has been achieved. Kyra is really pleased. She tells everybody 'my mummy got me those boxes'. This is going to do so much for the community it is really exciting."
There will be free training sessions at Morrisons in Coppice Side, Swadlincote and the Gresleydale Health Care Centre, in Church Gresley, with a paramedic who will teach visitors how to use the defibrillators.
Sarah has also created a touching tribute to Alex Parker, Lara Hensley and Richard Mole, who were all well-loved people from South Derbyshire who have died in recent years.
Sarah will honour them with a plaque next to the Gresleydale Centre machine, while the plan is to put two more defibrillators into Morrisons in Coppice Side, Swadlincote and next to the old toilets in Woodville High Street.
Sarah says a "massive thank you" is needed for all of the kind donors.
She said: "Everyone has been so generous and I can't believe the speed with which I reached the targets. I was contacted by a gentleman in his seventies who saw my story in the Burton Mail.
"He said he had a coal scuttle full of money and would I like it? It was such a lovely gesture and amounted to £160 in change. It was amazing.
"They will have to be checked every month but residents have already pledged to help me by taking on some of that responsibility.
"When I started out I dreamed of raising enough money to buy one and I can't believe just how many people have pledged to help me. I am really happy."
Sarah, who raised a chunk of money herself with a charity bingo event, is also working with the Swadlincote and District Lions Club, in the hope of raising more funds to see other areas in South Derbyshire and Burton, kitted out with the lifesaving equipment.