The Story of Great Western Public Hearts and Our Partners
How it began
It all started in 2018 when the Public Hearts Cheltenham Defibrillator Campaign was founded by Clare Seed, Director of Tidal Training Direct Ltd, and Chris Hickey, a cardiac arrest survivor and Great Western Air Ambulance Charity (GWAAC) volunteer. What started as a first aid course to support local businesses in the safe use of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED), turned into a collaborative mission to facilitate placing a series of public access AEDs in Cheltenham town centre - where there were none at the time.
Together, Clare and Chris set about raising awareness of the small number of sites in Cheltenham that hosted a defibrillator - so that the emergency services could locate them and direct people to them when someone was suffering a cardiac arrest nearby.
In 2019, Public Hearts collaborated with Cheltenham BID to place Cheltenham town centre's first public access defibrillator in the phone box by RBS on The Prom, to benefit the local and visiting community. The goal was set to place a defibrillator every 200 metres, to give anybody who needs it the best chance on their worst day.
Partners to the campaign include Cheltenham BID, Evans Jones, MJF Electrical, Spirax Sarco, Bob Holt OBE, Chun Kong and the wider business community as well as networking and media groups. As support and awareness increased, Clare expanded the partnership to raise awareness for GWAAC (as a founding partner since 2018) and their local air ambulance charity, because of the number of cardiac arrest patients GWAAC respond to. And so, in 2022, Great Western Public Hearts was founded.
Clare Seed, Founder and Ambassador
"The background to Public Hearts Cheltenham can be found on our company page (Tidal Training Direct Ltd).
As we came out of COVID-19 and the wider business community re-engaged, we reinvigorated awareness of the campaign.
In early August 2021, Bob Holt OBE and Mike Turl donated two defibrillators with a view to having them placed in the town centre to support Public Hearts Cheltenham.
These defibrillators are housed at the head office of charity Caring for Communities and People, 340 High Street and by the Cosy Club at The Brewery Quarter - marking Cheltenham High Street's first public access defibrillators. A proud moment for all involved.
We were then absolutely delighted with the generosity and community spirit of Spirax Sarco of how vital these lifesaving pieces of equipment are.
Receiving 11 defibrillators and cabinets from Spirax allowed us to go to the business community in key and high footfall areas in Cheltenham town centre, to place them where they were needed. It's a pleasure to share this campaign to benefit the local community to help someone in the event of a cardiac arrest.
Of the 11 Spirax Sarco defibrillators that we've installed since December 2021, several have been called on already, so we know that they are vital and having a positive impact in the local community.
Collaborating with Great Western Air Ambulance Charity gives us the ability to dovetail our initiative with their vital work, of which around a third of missions are cardiac arrest related.
We share the most vital goal - to give someone the best chance on their worst day.
In February 2022, our partnership was showcased through our joint work with Cheltenham Martial Arts, and the new GWAAC branded cabinet was shared with the Cheltenham community."