Pauline Scott There was a huge response in the Ardeevin area of Glenamaddy to a recent fundraising effort to purchase defibrillators for the local area. Such was the response that instead of purchasing one defibrillator for Ardeevin NS, defibrillators have now been purchased for the school, the local catchment area, St. Patrick’s Church in Glenamaddy and money has been given to Glenamaddy Community School for the provision of a defibrillator. The fundraising effort culminated in a sponsored walk on Sunday last around the Ardeevin and Bushtown areas. Organisers were overwhelmed by the level of local support for the event from local people of all ages. Luckily for the organisers, the day remained fine and a Garda escort ensured that the event passed off smoothly. The event and those who took part were blessed at the starting line by local parish priest Fr. Mooney. Local parent Breda Keaveney this week thanked all who took part and praised the generosity of local people. ‘There was just such an atmosphere of generosity. People were dropping off spot prizes and Sean Browne from Castle Studios did the video for nothing and Joe O’Neill did the sound and everyone of the refreshments were all donated. There was 100 percent commitment from all the parents. We set out to raise the cost of a defibrillator for the school and we funded one for the school, one for the Ardeevin area, one for the church and €1,000 to the Community School in Glenamaddy because they are fund raising for a defibrillator.’ During the presentations after the sponsored walk, Noel Davis present a defibrillator to Mary Quinn, Deputy Principal of Ardeevin NS. Breda Keaveney presented a defibrillator to Fr. Paddy Mooney on behalf of the Ardeevin area, to Glenamaddy Church and parish. Alphy O’Brien made a presentation to Martina Collins, who represented the Parents’ Association of Glenamaddy Community School. Bernie Clarke made a presentation to Mary Collins, Bernie Conneely and Ann Kelly on behalf of the Ardeevin catchment area. MC for the occasion was Siobhan O’Brien, Chairperson of the Board of Management. Gail Clarke of the organising committee said a few words on behalf of the parents. and thanked everybody for their goodwill. Frances McAndrew from the Irish Heart Foundation explained the importance of healthy eating, regular exercise and drinking water and noted that the Foundation is now getting lots of queries about defibrillators for local communities. Deputy Principal of Ardeevin NS, Mary Quinn, spoke on behalf of the school and said how delighted they were to have a defibrillator. She noted that normally when new equipment arrives at the school, everybody wants to use it, but nobody wants to have to use the defibrillator, but it does provide peace of mind to know that it’s there. Ms. Quinn noted that a plate outside the door of the school bears the motto ‘Ní neart go cur le chéile’ – there is no strength without unity – which was the theme of the recent school extension project at Ardeevin NS and she noted that it was also the theme of the defibrillator fundraising venture. Speaking of the reaction to the fundraising venture, Breda Keaveney praised the generosity of the local people. ‘Everyone said ‘what can we do for you?’ We are hoping other areas will take a leaf out of our book and get defibrillators for their own area.’ She added that she never saw anything like the teamwork of every man, woman and child in the area and concluded by thanking Fr. Mooney for his help. Fr. Mooney congratulated all involved and said it was a typical example of good community spirit and he thanked everybody for the defibrillator for the church and hoped that none of the defibrillators would need to be used, but on the other hand it was very important to have them. He also expressed the hope that people would undertake training on how to use the defibrillators. Cllr. Tiarnan Walshe said that he had nothing to do with the fundraising but thanked all involved for their energy and enthusiasm. He noted that a couple of years ago, there was a rumour that Ardeevin NS was to be closed and said what a shame it would have been if that happened considering all the hard work local parents put into the new extension and the wonderful community initiative on Sunday. He also said that if other parts of rural ireland would take a leaf out of Ardeevin’s book and provide these services in the locality it would be a much better community and he felt proud to be associated with the day. Those who took part in the sponsored walk remained on at the school for some time, enjoying refreshments and meeting neighbours and friends. The event concluded with a short demonstration of how the defibrillators work. Last Wednesday night, 18 attended training in CPR and names are now being taken from anyone wishing to enrol for defibrillator training.