Six-strong team aiming for 'huge impact' from defibrillator fundraiser

Alder Close respite service staff in March

Zoe Stimpson, Sam Cunnington and Sharon Watson are just three members of staff at a respite service in Alder Close, March who will canoe to raise funds for a defibrillator. - Credit: Zoe Stimpson

A group of support staff are gearing up for their first canoeing challenge in the hope of buying a life-saving defibrillator. 

Zoe Stimpson, alongside five other members who work at a respite care service on Alder Close in March, is aiming to canoe to and from Upwell to Salters Lode. 

“We are raising the money to be able to buy a defibrillator which will be used in our service and also for the surrounding areas,” Zoe said.  

“We are aiming to raise £1,000.   

“All the people that are taking part in this fundraiser are all support workers like myself that support individuals with learning disabilities.” 

None of the team taking part have done any canoeing before, but the group are not new to challenging themselves for charity. 

The cause they have fundraised for in the past is Real Dreams, which like their upcoming fundraiser on September 20, has tried to benefit the wider community. 

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“Currently it is myself, Amy Phillips, Sharon Watson, David Richardson, Sam Cunnington and there will be another member canoeing,” said Zoe. 

“Together, we have all been here between two and 22 years.   

“We are all going to the gym, we are finding the preparations are going ok. We keep team meetings for what is going to happen on the day.”  

More community organisations and sports clubs are also purchasing and installing defibrillators. 

In July, a fundraiser in Christchurch helped try to purchase and maintain existing machines in the village. 

As of the same month, charity Defibrillators For All recorded 37 machines in March compared to 48 public access defibrillators in Whittlesey and surrounding villages. 

“It will have a huge impact on our local community as we don’t have a defibrillator close by to us in case of emergencies,” Zoe added. 

“There are two other supported living bungalows next to us, which will have access to the defibrillator and also the public will have access in case they needed it. 

“We are starting to get nervous as it’s getting closer but we are looking forward to the experience."

To donate, visit the team’s GoFundMe page at: