Longridge rallies behind defib appeal

Forrest Arms defib fundraising.
Forrest Arms defib fundraising.

Longridge has something special to celebrate this Christmas after a fund to provide one potential lifesaving defibrillator surpassed all expectations – raising enough for three.

Two of the defibs are now in place – outside the Forrest Arms and Longridge Vets – with the third planned for a site on Berry Lane. Also, as there is still money left in the kitty, fundraising will resume in the new year to provide a fourth defib for town.

It has been absolutely hectic....and it has been amazing how many people have come forward and contributed, not just with £10, some people giving between £50 and £100

Alan Odix

The community’s response in getting behind the fundraising spearheaded by Forrest Arms landlady Chris Odix, assisted by husband Alan and customers, has surpassed all expectations, raising £4,250 to date. Alan said they have been “astounded by the community response”.

Alan also wishes to say how “immensely proud” he is of Chris for all she has done to spearhead the campaign.

The first £900 raised was the fund collected through the football card scheme, run by the Forrest Arms in conjunction with the Longridge and District Darts and Dominoes League.

The original plan was to donate it to the RSPCA, but when one of the pub’s customers mentioned the need for defibs and their capacity to save lives, the appeal for a defib outside the pub was launched in October.

A charity football match between The Forrest Arms and AFC Longridge attracted a good crowd, despite appalling weather conditions, and a Football Quiz saw another splendid turnout.

Thoughout this period, people’s generosity snowballed and it was acknowledged there would be enough for more than one defib.

The fundraisers were buyed by the news that Longridge Vets would donate a substantial sum, as would Longridge Town Council.

A “count up” night and raffle – with 35 prizes kindly donated by Longridge businesses and drawn by Longridge mayor Coun Sarah Rainford and Ribble Valley deputy mayor Coun Stuart Carefoot – was then held at the pub, with Paul and Jill Thomas from the vets also present.

A total £4,000 had been raised, but then this week, following two more generous donations, the fund rose to £4,250, and as each defib is £1,200, the pub is now just short of £550 for a fourth.

Alan, a manager for the Co-op Bank, said: “We were staggered, initially when we realised we would get one defib fairly early.

“We set our hopes on getting two and in the end were absolutely astounded by the support from regulars, from the businesses in Longridge and also the community of Longridge to have funding for three and we have now surpassed three and are on the way to getting funds for a fourth.

“It has been absolutely hectic....and it has been amazing how many people have come forward and contributed, not just with £10, some people giving between £50 and £100.”