THE first group of people have been trained to use the Heart Start defibrillator that is to be installed in Ludlow town centre before Christmas.

A group of nine people – some inspired by the Advertiser’s Heart Starters campaign – passed their training at Ludlow Castle on Sunday.

And planning permission has now been granted for the first defibrillator, to be installed outside Ludlow Assembly Rooms before Christmas.

The consent was required because of the historical status of the building and its location within the Ludlow Conservation Area.

There’ll be another recruitment drive on Boxing Day in the town centre when the hunt will be a major attraction.

And the next training day will be in February 2013. Training is provided by the West Midlands Ambulance Service.

“We teach basic life support and defibrillation and anyone can do it.

“The machine even speaks to you and guides you through it,” said Cliff Medicott, the community response manager for Shropshire.

Graeme Perks, the man behind the initiative in Ludlow says that the defibrillator, combined with a bit of training can be the difference between life and death.

“For every minute someone is in cardiac arrest, their chance of survival decreases by ten percent. Every minute counts.

“While an ambulance is on its way the sooner you can begin giving CPR and apply the defibrillator, the better. And the more people we can have trained, the better.”

“I am pleased that we will have the machine in time for Boxing Day when there will be a lot of people in the town.”

If you want to learn this vital training and become a Heart Starter, contact Graeme Perks on , or call 07977 892097 or 01584 878 202, or you can also call Priscilla Toop 01584 875064 or 07791 355445.