news

Blacon dad recognised for his life-saving charity work

Stalwart's fund-raising efforts inspired because three daughters have heart condition
Lee and Melanie Challinor flanked by Anne Jolly, founder of SADS UK and Derek Cartwright, director of operations for the North West Ambulance Service

A big-hearted fundraiser has won a national award in recognition of his efforts to generate thousands of pounds to put life-saving defibrillators into schools and community centres across Chester.

Lee Challinor, 35, from Blacon, was inspired to fundraise for the £1,000 units because three of his seven daughters have a heart condition called pulmonary stenosis and his grandfather passed away from cardiac arrest.

Units are in place across Blacon, Lache and at Dodleston.

Lee, who founded Blacon Defibrillator Fund, was awarded cardiac charity SADS UK’s National Community Defibrillator Award by a senior manager from North West Ambulance Service.

Lee said: “It’s nice for the Blacon and Chester name to gain recognition for the work we have done. Nowhere in Chester has got as many defibrillators as we have got in Blacon and we are rolling it out across Chester.

“The next one on the cards is Queen’s Park High School. We are working with the school on this one in memory of Jess Versey, that’s where she went. We received some money from the family from the funeral to put it out in her memory.”

Related: Tributes to Blacon cancer survivor Jessica Versey who has died aged 19

A defribrillator will be installed at Queen's Park High School, Handbridge, in memory of former pupil Jessica Versey who died earlier this year.

Lee spearheads the campaign and is the driving force but he says he couldn’t do without the team of people who work together to support the initiative. On Valentine’s Day last year, Lee organised an enormous balloon release with more than 2,000 balloons being released from Blacon High School.

SADS UK North West coordinator Angela Morris, who attended the event, said: “It was fantastic, so well organised, and lovely to see the mass of balloons soaring into the sky. The children releasing them were all so excited.”

Derek Cartwright, director of operations for the North West Ambulance Service, who presented the award to Lee and his wife Melanie, spoke about the outstanding achievements of people in the community in putting defibrillators in place.

Lee was previously honoured with the Blacon Community Award for his work.

In 2014, North West Ambulance Service awarded Lee, along with others from Blacon Defibrillator Fund, the Cardiac Smart Gold Award – a CardiacSmart initiative born from the Chain of Survival Partnership aimed at extending the blanket coverage of public access automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and training individuals in basic life support.

If anyone would like further information about putting defibrillators in schools or the community, contact SADS UK North West coordinator Angela Morris: 01925 822332.

View full mobile page