Coventry community becomes ‘HeartSafe’ following defibrillator installation in memory of teenager – Coventry City Council

The Mount Nod area of Coventry is becoming a ‘HeartSafe’ community as a new defibrillator is installed following the fundraising of a local mum working together with local councillors after her daughter suffered a cardiac arrest and passed away.

Ella Bury was just 17 years old when she tragically passed away from SADS (Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome) in the Mount Nod area of the city in July 2014. In response, Ella’s mother Karen Bury fundraised and worked alongside Woodlands ward councillors, Cllr Ridley, Cllr Male and Cllr Lepoidevin in getting permissions granted for the license agreement to have the defibrillator installed in her memory.

The initial motivation began with Cllr Ridley’s petition and public appeal back in 2020 calling for an old telephone box to be repurposed as a defibrillator, following an announcement by BT that it would be removed. The petition got more than 300 signatures from residents, which helped secure council support for the installation and licensing of a defibrillator. The defibrillator can be found outside the pharmacy on Sutherland Avenue.

The subsequent fundraising appeal was set up by Karen after Ella passed away and generated the £1200 amount of the cost to install the defibrillator, which includes first aid training for up to 12 people, as well as funds into her memorial fund with SADS UK. Fundraising events included auctions, raffles, danceathons, and sponsored runs. The Mount Nod Residents Association stepped up to the mark and agreed to provide the upkeep of the apparatus and even raising their annual subscription to cover the costs of insurance.

The installation of the defibrillator has been fully supported by the Woodlands ward councillors, who worked alongside Karen in getting permissions granted for the license agreement. The Mount Nod Residents Association stepped up to the mark and agreed to provide the upkeep of the apparatus and even raising their annual subscription to cover the costs of insurance.

The newly fitted defibrillator was supplied by the charity SADS UK, a national charity for Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome and is publicly available outside the pharmacy 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. These community defibrillators don’t need instructions to operate and there is no training needed. There is a computer that will tell the person using it what to do via a voice system that will talk them through the whole process.

Ella’s mother, Karen said: “Fundraising for a defibrillator has been so important to me because around 12 young people between 14 and 35 die from a sudden cardiac arrest every week. Most of these were previously fit and healthy, so the quicker a defib is used the higher the chance of survival. That is why we need more defibs in our communities and I am happy that Ella’s legacy lives on through this work.”

Cabinet Member for Public Health and Sport, Councillor Kamran Caan said: “We know that quicker access to defibrillation following a cardiac arrest can improve survival, so it is fantastic that the installation of this defibrillator in memory of Ella has been made possible through the joint work of her mum Karen, the Mount Nod Residents Association and Coventry City Council.”

Anne Lancaster from the Residents Association said: “The Association are really honoured to have been able to support such a worthwhile cause, in memory of our resident Ella Bury. Local residents have really come together in response to this tragedy, in the hope that such a sad occurrence can be avoided in the future.”

Sudden Arrhythmic death syndrome is when an individual passes away unexpectedly from a cardiac arrest, with no cause being found. It is usually due to an untreated abnormal heart rhythm and according to the British Heart Foundation affects around 500 people a year in the UK.  In the event of a cardiac arrest, a defibrillator uses electric shocks to try and restart the heart and restore normal rhythm. It is known that slower access to defibrillation following a cardiac arrest can reduce chances of survival.

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