Mount of Olives Church installs a new defibrillator for their local community - Great Western Air Ambulance Charity
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Mount of Olives Church installs a new defibrillator for their local community

In 2022, 28% of callouts for Great Western Air Ambulance Charity (GWAAC) were to people suffering a cardiac arrest.

Right now, fewer than 1 in 10 will survive a cardiac arrest in the UK…

But with early bystander cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) plus defibrillation within 3-5 minutes of collapse, we can produce survival rates as high as 49–75%.

Thanks to the fundraising efforts of the Mount of Olives Church community, led by Paul Nicholls, residents of Coleford will have that best chance on their worst day.

Paul, a SWASfT Paramedic said:

As a local paramedic I have seen first-hand the lifesaving abilities of local accessible defibrillators and wanted to see where in the town another cabinet would be useful, so decided to take on a fundraising project for this purpose. 

I approached the church due to the location in a large housing estate and ease of access to the cabinet. They were hugely supportive and between the church members raised over £1300 with another £1000 being provided by a grant that I applied for from Coleford town council.

I chose to work with GWAAC as they have a comprehensive [scheme] for getting a cabinet installed and the support is fantastic. Carlota from Great Western Heartstarters education programme was also able to help me in providing a training session for nearly 30 members of the community to be trained in CPR & use of a defibrillator following the installation of the cabinet.”

Due to the incredible generosity of the local community and Coleford Town Council, over £2,000 was raised to enable GWAAC to supply the new defibrillator. Rich Ellis of J W Lee Electrical Services gave his time without charge to complete the installation safely and ensure it is ready for public use if required.

Together, we can improve outcomes for our shared community and see fewer avoidable deaths. We want anyone who suffers a cardiac arrest to receive immediate CPR and defibrillation so that we can see more people like Forrest Wheeler, who collapsed in Pittville Park, Cheltenham. Thanks to early CPR, early defibrillation, and GWAAC’s Critical Care Team who put Forrest in an induced coma, he is still here and has these pearls of wisdom to share:

“If anyone takes anything away from my story, it’s that if you have any hesitations about using a defibrillator – don’t. My message is, just use it. The machine tells you what to do, it’s so easy and it’s better to give it a go than not try at all.”

If you want to fundraise or purchase a defibrillator for your community, please get in touch with the GWAAC team by emailing or visiting