THE first Jack's Appeal defibrillator has been presented to Newport High School.

It is the first machine to be placed in a school in the Argus appeal to get the machines into every secondary school in Gwent.

The appeal is in memory of Oakdale teen Jack Thomas, who died suddenly in February 2012 from an underlying heart condition, aged just 15, and is in conjunction with Jack's parents.

Newport High in Bettws is the first to benefit directly from the funds raised, with Newbridge High School and Blackwood Comprehensive to receive their defibrillators on May 8 and May 15 respectively.

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 £4,336. The defibrillators, which are being provided by Welsh Hearts charity, cost around £1,000 each.

Newport High received their defibrillator thanks to a £1,000 donation from Bettws Community Group after they saw our appeal and decided to take action.

Karyn Keane, head teacher at Newport High School, thanked the community group for the donation, saying it would also benefit the wider community.

She said: “Well over 1,200 people make use of our school every day so it is reassuring to know that we have a defibrillator on site as this really can make the difference between life and death.”

Newport-born Dr Gareth Roberts, an anaesthetic and intensive care registrar, was also at the presentation last Wednesday, and later gave training to more than 200 pupils at the school on how to use the defibrillators. He has now teamed up with Welsh Hearts, where he is a trustee, to launch the Saving Lives in Welsh Schools Project, which hopes to teach pupils across Wales how to assess a patient and do chest compressions, as well as giving instructions on how to use a heart defibrillator.

Ms Keane added: “Dr Roberts is passionate about teaching basic life support and believes that providing simple principles and the premise of ‘doing something is better than doing nothing’ can help save lives.”


You can now donate to Jack’s Appeal online by using your credit or debit card, or a PayPal account by going to

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