Latest News Charity Champion or Volunteer of the Year nominee – Dave Swarbrook

Charity Champion or Volunteer of the Year nominee – Dave Swarbrook

31 May 2023

Charity Champion or Volunteer of the Year nominee – Dave Swarbrook

Retired IT worker Dave Swarbrook is the volunteer defibrillator champion that every town should have.

Dave’s friend, David McNeaney, better known as Macca to his many friends, passed away following a sudden cardiac arrest on New Year’s Eve 2020.

Wanting to do something positive in memory of his friend, Dave, along with Macca’s family, decided it would be a fitting tribute to site an automatic electronic defibrillator (AED) in an empty phone box in Leek near to where Macca had been found collapsed.

Building on fundraising started by a local councillor, they decided to get involved and galvanise the appeal to save lives in the future by creating a memorial donations page with AEDdonate in Macca’s memory.

Several weeks later the appeal had raised enough money to pay for not one, but five AEDs around the town.

Having read that ideally you should be no further than 90 seconds away from an AED to have a fighting chance of surviving a sudden cardiac arrest, Dave worked with AEDdonate to ensure there was appropriate lifesaving cover around the town centre. This included him adding all of Leek’s AEDs to Google Maps to help identify where additional ones were needed.

There were further appeals happening in and around Leek and Dave, 57, linked local community groups, charities and businesses to AEDdonate so they could help with the fundraising. Within weeks AEDs were being delivered in more locations including a golf club, boxing academy, pubs and the local cricket club.

In just two years the town’s community public access defibrillator cover has increased from eight to more than 30 and there have already been several deployments of those AEDs.

Dave worked with a friend involved in PR to publicise the AED installations, reinforcing the message that you can never have enough AEDs which led to a large employer funding further AEDs across the town.

Dave has also arranged first aid at work training for 50 staff from Leek town centre shops and businesses.

He has now identified all the AEDs in the Staffordshire Moorlands district and as a result the town, parish and district councils are looking at a funding package to enable the maintenance and management of all the 130 plus AEDs which are registered across the district.

Jamie Richards, CEO of AEDdonate, said: “We can’t thank Dave enough for everything he has done to save lives in his community and AEDdonate’s challenge is now to find someone in every town and city the length and breadth of the country who can ‘be like Dave’.”

Dave has been nominated in the Charity Champion or Volunteer of the Year category of the Your Heroes Awards.

He said: “I think we’ve done a good job but there’s still so much more to come. This started out in memory of David but once we could see where the gaps were it felt like we had to fill those gaps.”