NEWBRIDGE School is the latest school to receive a heart defibrillator thanks to the efforts of Jack’s Appeal.
It comes as part of the Argus’ joint appeal to get the machines into every secondary school in Gwent and the Rhymney Valley in memory of Oakdale teen Jack Thomas, who died suddenly from an underlying heart condition at his girlfriend’s home in Newbridge in February 2012, aged just 15.
Newport High School in Bettws was the first to benefit directly from the funds raised, with Blackwood Comprehensive to receive theirs on May 15.
Various individuals, sports clubs, community groups, and rotary clubs have come forward with kind donations since the appeal’s launch earlier this year, with the current funds raised standing at around £4,500. The defibrillators, which are being provided by Welsh Hearts charity, cost around £1,000 each.
The presentation of the heart defibrillator was made in front of an assembly of year 11 students, in the presence of Cllr Michael Gray, who was carrying out his last duty as the Mayor of Caerphilly county borough.
Jack’s mother, June Thomas, said Newbridge had great relevance to her family.
She said: “This school is close to our hearts, they’ve been very supportive to us from the beginning. Jack’s girlfriend went to this school, and his cousins, and we always said we wanted Newbridge to be one of the first schools to get the heart defibrillator.”
Lesley Perry, head teacher at Newbridge School, said: “The school shared a collective grief for Jack Thomas and the family and we were always keen to support in any way we could.
“We are very proud to work with Mr and Mrs Thomas and the Welsh Hearts charity in having the defibrillator in the school. It’s poignant that the assembly was made up of year 11 students – many of whom would have known Jack.
“We are now going to work with Welsh Hearts to provide training for our children and staff on how to use the defibrillators. That is our next step.”
You can now donate to Jack’s Appeal online by using your credit or debit card, or a PayPal account by going to welshhearts.org/jacksappeal.
Tickets for the The King and Queen of Hearts Summer Ball (in memory of Jack’s Appeal) are £45 each, and includes a sparkling drinks reception, a three-course dinner and entertainment. It will be held at the Hilton Newport Hotel on Chepstow Road, Langstone, NP18 2LX, on June 7, 2014. People are being encouraged to arrive at 7pm for a 7.30pm start. To book tickets to the Summer Ball contact Welsh Hearts Fundraising Office on 02920 786521 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.