A SCHOOL has won high praise from Bolton comedian and TV favourite Paddy McGuinness for teaching children the most essential of skills which could one day save someone’s life.

Teachers and pupils at Tonge Moor Primary School are now equipped with lifesaving skills, thanks to the Hand of Heart charity, which is supported by the Take Me Out presenter.

Tonge Moor was presented with a free defibrillator to be used in case someone should suffer a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) in school or in the local community.

The charity also provided a day-long training session to teach lifesaving skills.

The school is a growing number in Bolton to train its children in first-aid and CPR and the school received the lifesaving package after the headteacher nominated it to the charity.

Paddy, who has presented a defibrillator to his former school, Mount St Joseph in Farnworth, said: “It’s wonder-ful news for everyone at Tonge Moore school.

“They will now benefit from having the training and crucial lifesaving equipment which, hopefully, they will never have to use at their schools.”

SCA is described as the most extreme case of an emergency, as the patient loses consciousness at once and there are no signs of life. Defibrillators give a vital shock through the chest wall and help to restore a normal heartbeat.

This shock must be delivered in the first three minutes, to increase the survival rate from six per cent to over 74 per cent.

Headteacher Anne Read said: “We were thrilled when we heard we had been successful in our bid to receive a defibrillator.

“Children in Year five have done first aid training for a few years now. Having already completed this, the defibrillator training was a natural progression. Amongst the staff there was no shortage of volunteers to complete training. Drills will be an important part of keeping the training in everyone’s mind.

“Soon they will complete a drill in a more public arena in school so that everyone knows about this technology and what they could do as a passer-by.”

She added: “Of course, we all followed the story of Fabrice Muamba and realise the importance of immediate attention before passing care on to the professionals.”

Children are pleased they are trained in lifesaving skills.

Rhema Tshiela, aged nine, said: “The process was very easy and we learned how to use the defibrillator in less than an hour. It was fun and everyone got involved. We also have first aid lessons so we now know how to save someone’s life.”

Luci Watson, aged 10, added: “The trainer was really good and he made the training exciting. We learned how to use the debrillator and, if we needed to use one, we would know what to do.”

The Bolton News has teamed up with Bolton West MP Julie Hilling to ensure children leave school knowing how to save a life with the Every School-leaver A Lifesaver campaign.

Gina Harris, the Hand on Heart fundraising manager, said: “We are so thrilled to have been able to offer Tonge Moore primary pupils and staff their defibrillator package.

“If every school was equipped with a defibrillator, we can only imagine how drastically the survival rates of SCA in the young would change.”

Mark Wilby, of Ultimate Safety Training Ltd, who carries out some of the defibrillator sessions for the charity, added: “These sessions prove hugely popular by all involved in the training.”

l For more information on nominating a school go to handonheart.org