A campaign by a local councillor and charity to install life-saving equipment within a popular Sunderland park has paid off.

A new defibrillator has been installed within the walled gardens of Doxford Park, thanks to the work of the Red Sky Foundation and Doxford Ward’s Cllr Allen Curtis.

Boasting nine hectares of woodland, thousands of people from across the city visit Doxford Park every year to exercise or relax.

Yet despite its popularity, the park has remained one of the city’s few active parks without access to life saving defibrillators, until now.

After liaising with the Friends of Doxford Park, Cllr Allen Curtis and the Red Sky Foundation have secured and installed the park’s very first active defibrillator.

Defibrillators, which are commonly mounted onto walls, allow users to provide high-energy, powerful electric shocks to the heart through pads which are placed on the chest.

The devices which are installed by the Red Sky Foundation also come with easy-to-use instructions, meaning if anyone were to suffer a sudden cardiac arrest, the machine can be used by almost anyone to immediately resuscitate them.

Sergio Petrucci, founder of Red Sky Foundation, said: “It has been great working with Cllr Allen Curtis to help make the community safer and to fulfil one of our main objectives, which is to help preserve lives.

“Thanks to this defibrillator, should anyone visiting the park ever suffer from a sudden cardiac arrest, then the chance of them surviving has been greatly improved as they will now be able to receive early CPR and defibrillation. It is a literal life saver.”

Cllr Allen Curtis, Labour councillor for Doxford Ward, has already helped secure four defibrillators for the area, with this representing the fifth. He said: “We are thrilled to have secured this vital equipment for Doxford Park.

“Thousands of people visit the park each and every year however the fact that is spans acres of land means that, should anyone ever suffer a sudden cardiac arrest, then it could be some time before they receive the urgent support required to save their life.

“Through this new equipment, people of all ages who enjoy the park can now do so in the peace of mind that should the worst ever happen, then the equipment is there to help them in their time of need.

“Even if it goes on to save just one life, then it will be worth absolutely every penny, so we’re delighted to have secured it for the park and the people of Doxford Ward.”

Bob Makins, Chair of the Friends of Doxford Park, played a key role in having the kit installed and identifying the best location for it to be housed.

Speaking at the unveiling, he said: “We’re delighted to have the latest life-saving unit here in our park to make visitors feel safe should they have a medical emergency.

“It is something we’ve wanted to have installed for quite some time, so we’re delighted to finally have it installed within the park and ready to use.”

For more information on where your nearest defibrillator is in Sunderland, please visit: www.redskyfoundation.com