The end of one year and the start of a new year is always a good time to take stock of what has been achieved, and what more needs to be done.

A project started 18 months ago at Woodham Community Centre saw the very first 24 hour public access Defibrillator installed in Newton Aycliffe.

Local County Councillors via Great Aycliffe and Middridge Area Action Partnership funds have, with other partners, and very generous public support, enabled us to successfully extend this project.

Public response to awareness of what, why and how vital these units can be, has been tremendous.

Local Companies have helped with the donation of portable units to groups, and installations.

The chain of 24 hour public access units has recently been increased to 8 with units fitted in the Navy Club, and Neville Community Centre in the last few days.

We are organising an official opening on Friday 11th Jan to thank all those involved, County Councillor’s, GAMP, Navy Club staff and members, including Dorothy Bowman’s ladies’ group. Neville Community Residents and Committee, but especially the Taylor family of Rachel, Trevor, son Calum and his partner Andrea. They are raising and have donated substantial funds in memory of their daughter Seonaid Taylor-Hill. Future fundraising via “Kick it for Seonaid” events are being planned.

A program of free CPR and defibrillator awareness training, originally planning to train 250 people, has now reached 300 with Eddy Young from the Navy Club being the latest.

Last year, together with Newton News, we produced a map of the location of all units both 24 hour and limited access. We have updated this and would ask any groups or organisations who are not shown and who would like to be included in future updates to contact us.

Special thanks to Newton News who have reproduced the map in this weeks edition, centre pages, for residents to keep as a record.

Looking forward the Taylors and myself want to encourage other areas and groups to continue expanding the potential life saving coverage of more units especially 24 hour public access. We have already committed to working with St Mary’s Church and school with substantial support already agreed from “The Friends of St Mary’s.

The aim would be 24 hour public access defibrillators within a 500 metre radius of all residents of the Town, Aycliffe Village, and School Aycliffe. Some preliminary talks have taken place and we would like to progress these further. Please contact if interested in learning more (see below).

Further free CPR and defibrillator awareness training is being arranged by GAMP support from all 7 of our County Councillor’s which we hope to have confirmed shortly. Again, if interested contact.

David Sutton-Lloyd

01325 316144