THIS week the Advertiser kickstarts a campaign to bring vital lifesaving equipment kit to Ludlow and train volunteers to use it.

The defibrillator coming soon to Ludlow town centre won’t save lives without enough “heart starters” .

And with more defibrillators planned, more heartstarters are needed.

So the Advertiser is backing calls for volunteers to step up, either with the know-how or ready to learn.

Leading the campaign is Ludlow town councillor Graeme Perks, supported by fellow councillor Priscilla Toop, who has a medical background, and Tracey Huffer, who represents Ludlow on Shropshire Council and is a GP practice nurse in the town.

Training in how to use the machine is provided free by the West Midlands Ambulance Service and takes about four hours.

A defibrillator gives an electric shock to help restart a heart after a heart attack or cardiac arrest, buying time before emergency medics arrive.

The scheme for Ludlow and its surrounds is based on a model scheme operating in the Clun Valley where 14 machines have been installed at key locations and almost 300 volunteers trained in how to use them.

All being well, Ludlow’s first defibrillator will be in place by early next year and a number of locations are being looked at including the Assembly Rooms and Guildhall. Other defibrillators are planned – if enough volunteers step up.

“This is a very important campaign as these machines make a difference between life and death,” said Tony Pound, Mayor of Ludlow who himself suffered a heart attack at home.

“They are especially important in more isolated areas. I would encourage as many people as possible to get involved.”

A volunteer fair is being planned in Ludlow this year.

Defibrillators start at £1,000 so would need to be secured but easily accessible to volunteers, who would probably work on a rota basis contacted by pager or mobile.