RATHMELL'S residents now have a head start in the safety race, thanks to a new defibrillator installed at the heart of the community.

Plans for the emergency kit were first discussed more than two years ago, but the cost proved too prohibitive.

Now, thanks to hard work and the fund-raising efforts of villagers, the emergency kit is about go live outside Rathmell’s Reading Room.

“We’re thrilled it’s finally here” said Reading Room Chairman, Rosemary Rees. “The idea was first put forward quite some time ago, but once we looked into it we realised that there was more to this than just finding something cheap and cheerful to hang on a wall.

“We needed to research the right equipment, approved by the relevant authorities, and we also needed to make sure installation and commissioning is completed properly. That’s happening now.”

Fund raising accelerated during last year, and earlier this year helped with a number of village events, including the generosity of visitors to Rathmell’s Open Farm Day, hosted by Chris Weston.

“We have first rate trades people handling the installation and other checks, and we also plan to register Rathmell’s defibrillator on the new national database being developed by the British Heart Foundation and the NHS,” added Rosemary.

Yorkshire Ambulance Service will shortly be hosting a familiarisation session for the village, outlining the simple procedures to be followed when using this vital asset. This will be held at the Reading Room on Wednesday September 19.