More than 60 people in Westhoughton are now trained to use a defibrillator and to carry out CPR.

This comes after councillors in the area arranged training with the North West Ambulance Service so residents could learn the vital life-saving skill.

Westhoughton councillor, Neil Maher, who had a 20-year-long career in the North West Ambulance Service, lead the Westhoughton Town Council project to ensure every part of the town has an accessible defibrillator.

Defibrillation is a treatment for life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias, and a defibrillator delivers a dose of electric current to the heart.

Two free training courses took place and according to councillors it was really well received, and they hope to provide more training in the future.

Cllr Maher said: “It’s been great to see so many local residents take up the offer of training from the North West Ambulance Service on how to use a defibrillator.

“I raised the issue of defibrillators and training at a meeting of Westhoughton Town Council last and NWAS agreed to put the sessions on.

“There’s a number of defibrillators now around Westhoughton and hopefully more will improve the coverage.”

Cllr David Wilkinson said: “The training was really successful, there were about 60 people who attended both the sessions which I was quite pleased with to be quite honest.

“I thought that was great, people gave their time up to come along and be involved in it and I thought it wasn’t bad numbers at all.

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The Bolton News: Cllr Gillian Wroe taking part in the trainingCllr Gillian Wroe taking part in the training (Image: Cllr Gillian Wroe)“The training has benefitted the community because we have 60 people who now know how to use a defibrillator, which is 60 we didn’t have before which is always better.

“At the training people were taught how to do CPR, how to actually use a defibrillator and how not to be scared or intimidated by it.

“People were very enthusiastic and quite pleased that they have now got this additional skill which they didn’t have a few weeks ago.

“We will be looking into it to see if we can provide more training, we are dependant on the North West Ambulance Service, but I think they are also quite keen that more people are trained.

“If it is at all possible, we will be looking at doing this again.

“I think the training was very effective, you run things and think will it work and what kind of response will you get, and responses show that people were happy with it and people are more confident now that if they are ever in that situation they can help."

Speaking about the training, Cllr Dierdre McGeown said: “A huge thanks to our Deputy Mayor Councillor Neil Maher for organising a number of training events on how to use a defibrillator.

“We have quite a few defibrillators around Westhoughton and North West Ambulance, delivered a very informative and interesting session, she encouraged everyone to have a go at CPR and the training defibrillator on ‘Annie’ our volunteer.

“Residents and councillors seemed to enjoy the session, really getting involved, taking away any fear of using it.

“Of course, real life is different but knowledge of how to use the defibrillator could help you save a life!”

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