Lifesaving equipment is a gift to Durleigh

Vital lifesaving equipment has been handed over to a Somerset village following the installation of a defibrillator at the gates of Wessex Water’s reconstructed reservoir site at Durleigh, near Bridgwater.

The £6,000 defibrillator, which is used to give an electric shock to someone whose heart has stopped functioning, was presented to members of Durleigh Parish Council by scheme project manager Nigel Coates this week to help mark the conclusion of a £50 million refurbishment project at the company’s water treatment centre.

As well as the equipment handover, parish council members also toured the reservoir complex to see the results of the three-year demolition and reconstruction programme, with the enhanced water treatment centre at Durleigh now brought into service.

The massive refurbishment of the Enmore Road site, which got under way in 2019 after more than four years of planning, saw the old water treatment centre – which draws on Durleigh Reservoir to the west – reconstructed to ensure that the highest quality drinking water would continue to be delivered to a population of more than 44,000.

The installation of the defibrillator - which can be accessed by any member of the public by dialling 999 - came about as a result of the close working relationship developed between Wessex Water and the parish council, in whose area the reservoir lies, during the centre rebuild.

As well as briefing the authority with regular updates on the progress of the work, the company also stepped in to fund the defibrillator to support the local community after being approached about the idea.

Wessex Water’s project manager Nigel Coates said: “We know that having a defibrillator in place in the village can be a source of great comfort to the community and that if someone has a cardiac arrest in the area there is the equipment close by that could save their life.

“The community of Durleigh has been very patient and understanding while what has been one of Wessex Water’s largest-ever refurbishment projects has been taking place on their doorsteps and we are pleased to be able to step up and contribute something in return.’’

Wessex Water bought the defibrillator from St John’s Ambulance as well as a cabinet to house it before getting a support frame manufactured and covering the costs for all the installation and testing of the equipment prior to handing it over to the parish council.

Councillor Nigel Smith, chair of Durleigh Parish Council, said: “On behalf of the community of Durleigh, the parish council would like to thank Wessex Water for enabling this essential life-saving device to be installed within close proximity.

“Without the support of Wessex Water, finding a suitable location for installation within the parish was a problem.

“We are also keen to ensure that there is confidence within the community to use an AED (automated external defibrillator). For this reason, we will be providing training to residents within the parish.

“More details on the training will be provided in the coming weeks and will be published on our website and Facebook page.”