Category Archives: PC Messages

First Responders

Colin Hall tells me that no one has come forward offering to train as a First Responder, following the publicity surrounding our Parish Councils decision to invest in a Defibrillator.

Defibrillators save lives but they need someone to use them.  The more people, who are trained to be First Responders, the more likely is it that someone you know and love, will be spared and given a few more years before they shuffle of this mortal coil.

Even if you don’t feel able to take on this role yourself please speak with your friends and neighbours, spreading the news of the action our PC is taking and mentioning that more First Responders are desperately needed.

Anyone interested should contact Colin Hall via email at: or by phone to 015242 71865.

John Keegan

Village Defibrillator

The last time I died was at 10:00pm on the evening of Tuesday 11 July 2000.

At that time my first responders were my next door neighbour Samer Nashef, a cardiothoracic surgeon,

and his wife, Sandie Nashef, a partner in our local GP practice, and Occupational Health Doctor for M&S in East Anglia.

They carried out CPR until the ambulance arrived.  They broke nine of my ribs in order to keep blood flowing around my brain, in an endeavour to preserve as many brain cells as possible.

The following Monday I had £25,000 worth of Implantable Cardiovertor Defibrillator (ICD) sewn into my chest, courtesy of BUPA.

A year later Maureen and I moved to Whittington.  No longer were we blessed by having a skilled First Responder living next door, or even anywhere local at that time, but we did have Rt. Rev. Gordon Bates, the retired Suffragan Bishop  of Whitby living three doors away, and he promised me a smooth transition to the after life should I have a repeat event.

Yesterday evening our local first responder R Read, resident of Nanny Hall, gave an excellent presentation to the Parish Council, on the importance of having an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) available to our community in Whittington.

During the PC meeting which followed the presentation the council decided to support the purchase of an AED and to investigate cooperation with the Village Hall Trustees, together with the possible application of funds received recently from the County Parish Champion, towards this cause.  The cost of such a device is in the order of £1,500, a much better deal than the £25,000 it cost BUPA to provide mine.

When an AED is made available via a special box mounted in a suitable location it is referred to as a cPAD (Community Public Access Defibrillator).  Such a device has a power supply that keeps the AED at the temperature required.  The box can also be fitted with a code access lock, to which access is provided via a 999 call.  This is desirable as a first responder is dispatched to support the member of the public making use of the automated device.

As I mentioned earlier we only have one local first responder living in the Whittington Parish.  More volunteers are desperately required.  Full training and support would be given to anyone who would like to consider participating in this valuable service.

In the first instance Vice Chairman of the Parish Council, Colin Hall, is coordinating activities in this venture.  Colin can be contacted on his email address:, or by phone to 015242 71865.

Even if you don’t feel able to be a first responder please voice your views in favour of having an AED available in the village, the next time you are speaking with your local Councillor.

John Keegam

November PC Agenda

The very first item on the Agenda for the PC Meeting, on Monday 20 November, following the public section of the Agenda at 6:45pm, is a presentation by a Guest Speaker to inform members on the subject of “defibrillators in a rural community”.

I would like to encourage any parishioners interested in this subject to attend the meeting (I’m sure the Chairman will not mind if you choose to leave before the commencement of the official part of the Agenda). For those who are unable to attend, Community Heartbeat have an excellent website with a wealth of detail on the subject at: Community Heartbeat.

The website explains what an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) is, which it explains as follows:

“An AED is a portable defibrillator especially designed for people with little or no medical background. When applied to the victim, voice commands and screen messages will guide the user step-by-step through the process and its intelligent technology will only allow it to shock a ‘shockable’ heart rhythm. AED technology opens a window for the public to take on a key role to support emergency services who would otherwise be hindered by the time it takes to reach the victim. It is argued that AEDs should be as broadly deployed as fire extinguishers and first aid kits.”

See you there.

John Keegan

SpID for Whittington

Residents living in the centre of the village are concerned about the speed of traffic past their houses.  It has been discussed by the Parish Council over a considerable number of years without any action being taken to try to secure a reduction in speeds.

The question was raised at the Parish Assembly on May 8th which was attended by five residents.  The Chairman agreed with the points listed below.

  1. The existing 30mph speed limit is too high given both the poor access onto Main Street from adjacent properties and lack of safe footpaths for much of the length of Main Street.
  2. Previous traffic surveys have shown that traffic speeds were rarely in excess of the existing speed limit.
  3. There had been no accidents on Main Street as a result of excessive speed.
  4. Although a speed limit of 20mph would be desirable it was possible that this could not be imposed by the County Council, there was also some doubt about the enforcement of lower speed limits.

Prior to the Parish Assembly in May 2017 the PC had discussed the possibility of installing a Speed Indicating Device but the PC minutes do not record any discussion in relation to the potential effectiveness of such devices nor do they record any information about the question of costs and funding.  There is no record of any discussions with the Highways Authority about the problem nor about other measures which might be taken

The Chairman admitted that he had no idea about the costs of purchasing and maintaining a SpID but he was under the impression that they would be met by the County’s Parish Champion.

Since the assembly the Parish Council has claimed that the points listed have been discussed but I can find no mention in the PC minutes of any discussion of or decisions taken to overrule the Chairman’s commitment.

I find this situation completely unacceptable and to be in clear breach of the Code of Conduct agreed by the PC, particularly in relation to:


Holders of public office should be as open as possible about the decisions and actions that they take. They should give reasons for their decisions and restrict information only when the wider public interest clearly demands

Clearly it would be totally irresponsible for the Parish Council to acquire a SpID until they have made a proper case for so doing and given all residents the opportunity to understand the issues at stake.  This could easily be done at an open Parish Meeting with officers from the Highways Department present to outline the other options which might be available.

The alternatives are clearly set out in in The Department of Transport Advisory Leaflet 1/03.  No doubt the Parish Clerk or one of the Parish Councillors would be happy to lend any resident their copy.

Should the Parish Council ultimately decide to proceed careful consideration would need to be given to the siting of any device.  The position chosen for “the trial” must have been carefully considered, 30mph at that point is clearly inappropriate but the “Smiley Face” could have been taken as approval to travel at 30mph.  Fortunately, there were no accidents, had there been, the question of public liability would have been interesting to say the least.

Graham Williams