Supplying defibrillators to schools

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We’ve partnered with The Connor Saunders Foundation to supply ten schools in the local area with a defibrillator and have provided funding for the machines, as well as training sessions for pupils and teachers in first aid workshops organised by the Foundation.

Sadly, 12 young people die every week from sudden cardiac arrest. Of these, 270 are children who will die at school and 80% of those will have had no previous symptoms. Defibrillators are simply too expensive to be installed in schools as standard, so The Connor Saunders Foundation is working to try and make as many schools as they can in the Sussex area, heart safe.

Having access to a defibrillator can be life-saving. For every minute that a person is in cardiac arrest, their chances of survival drops by 10%. A defibrillator is the only definitive treatment for someone who is suffering a cardiac arrest, which is why it is so important for schools to not only have access to this life-saving piece of equipment, but to also learn how to use it.

Thanks to funding provided by Rockinghorse, nine schools in and around Brighton and Hove have already benefitted by receiving a potentially life-saving defibrillator. They are; St Luke’s Primary School, Elm Grove Primary School, Middle Street Primary School, Northease Manor School, Seahaven Academy, Varndean School, Swiss Gardens Primary School, Chyngton Primary School and PACA (Portslade Aldridge Community Academy). Saltdean Primary will be the tenth school to receive a defibrillator on Wednesday 16 March.

Analiese Doctrove, Head of Fundraising here at Rockinghorse, joined Darran and Courtney (Connor’s mum and sister) from The Connor Saunders Foundation to visit PACA in Portslade. She was invited to watch one of their first aid classes where teachers and pupils were taught how to use a defibrillator (pictured above). Analiese said: “It was amazing to visit PACA and see the first aid training in practice. The year 7 pupils were really engaged by the session and it is was great to see the teachers getting involved as well. We have been really excited to work with the Connor Saunders Foundation and help them to reach even more schools in the local area.”

Darran Saunders from The Connor Saunders Foundation, added: “How do we begin to thank Rockinghorse for the kind donation to The Connor Saunders Foundation, enabling us to supply 10 defibrillators to local schools to make them heart safe. The local community is safer because of this funding. We feel the youth of today needs to know about the anti-violence campaign we feel so passionate about – and how every action has a consequence – this life-saving piece of equipment gives peace of mind to staff, parents and pupils. That is to be commended. We are such a small foundation and to be recognised by a worthwhile charity such as Rockinghorse is humbling.

“As a family who has lost the most precious gift of all; a son, a brother, a friend, we made a conscious decision that Connor’s life made it possible – and his death made it necessary – for us to continue his legacy of saving lives, changing lives, and not taking lives. We believe that good has to come from bad and making a difference is what Connor would want. He was a remarkable young man and he will forever guide us on this journey we now walk.”

To find out more about The Connor Saunders Foundation, please visit

It is thanks to the amazing support we receive from local businesses, schools, community groups, trusts and individuals – people like you – that we are able to support some very worthy causes in Sussex and make a real difference to the lives of sick babies, children and teenagers in our county. To find out more about our work, please click here.

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