Money raised to purchase 2 rural defibrillators via Sussex Heart Charity’s grant scheme

Receiving defibrillators

Foxy Ladies Running Club raised money to purchase defibrillators

Following fundraising efforts at the first Cissbury Ring Marathon Relay 2021, Foxy Ladies Running Club raised enough money to buy two defibrillators through Sussex Heart Charity’s grant scheme.

The grant, once approved, means an organisation contributes for the cost of the defibrillator(s) and in return receive a heated defibrillator outer case, a Heartsine AED and AED familiarisation training for 10 people with Pulse South Coast. Foxy Ladies were grateful to be able to apply and be approved for two defibrillators through this scheme.

In memory of club member’s life partner

The fundraising took place in memory of Nick Votta, life partner of one of the club’s long-term members, Sam Merrick. Nick passed away when he suffered a cardiac arrest in June 2021. He was a member of the Findon Valley Community who enjoyed walking up Cissbury Ring.

It was important to Sam and the ladies of the club to try to get a defibrillator in this area, not only for sentimental reasons but as it is widely used by members of the public and the nearest one was located at Lime Tree Surgery. The club wanted to ensure that if required, it was in an accessible spot used by hikers, dog walkers, runners and mountain bikers.

The process of installing the defibrillators

In November, the club took delivery of the two defibrillators and work had begun in earnest working with local authorities to secure and approve locations and work out logistics like protecting the defibrillators and their battery life.

Months of administrative work followed in order to get the defibrillators placed in these rural locations. Permissions were needed from Adur & Worthing Council for defibrillator 1, now located in Storringtion Rise Car Park, and from the National Trust for defibrillator 2, located on the south side of Cissbury ring.

The club was advised the defibrillators could be kept in medical insulation bags which would protect the four year battery life. The sourcing of the bags to fit the cases required time and patience as did the alterations to the cases to remove electrics and obstructions that may impact the construction of the specialist bags.

In February, the post went up followed by the defibrillator case in March. Defibrillator 1 is now live in Storrington Rise Car Park and two weeks later, Defibrillator 2 was installed at Cissbury.

Sam Merrick placed the battery in the defibrillator and a plaque in memory of Nick will be placed with defibrillator 2.

Members received CPR training to learn to use a defibrillator

During March approximately 60 club members received CPR and AED familiarisation over 5 separate evenings and from two different training providers. The club now feels more informed and confident should they ever be the first on scene and need to perform CPR and use a defibrillator.

The club thanks Sally Holmes, a community first responder with Secamb in Rustington and Craig Sharples from Pulse South Coast for sharing their invaluable skills and knowledge.

Specific locations of the defibrillators:

Defibrillator 1 – Storrington Rise Car Park, Worthing, BN14 0HT. What 3 words location “similar, correctly, canyons”. Directions on left hand side of car park entrance.

Defibrillator 2 – Cissbury Ring, Agricultural land Mount Carvey. What 3 words location “initiated, shuttled, steps”. Directions near fingerpost in middle of grass area the grid reference for TQ138075.

People the club would like to give their thanks to

  • Sam and her family for investing time, energy and emotion at such a difficult time
  • Members of Foxy Ladies Running Club who gave donations and time to the event, raising enough money to provide these pieces of equipment
  • Terry and his team at Sussex Heart Charity
  • Dan and Graham at the National Trust
  • Park Ranger Graeme at Adur & Worthing Council
  • Sue and Ian Hart for the venue for the defibrillator training
  • Sally Holmes and Craig Sharples for the CPR & AED familiarisation
  • Jenny Blower for stepping up at the beginning to help and working hard to see this project through to the end


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