WIVELISCOMBE now has its first heart defibrillator, installed at the Recreation Ground with the aim of saving lives.

NHS South Western Ambulance Service provided the defibrillator, and it sits in a bright green box on the wall of the Rugby Club in the swimming pool car park in Culverhay Lane.

The metal box housing the machine was bought with donations from the sports club who use the Recreation Ground.

Sylvia Cottrell, secretary of the rec’s maintenance committee, who organised the machine’s installation, said: “Having a defibrillator available in an area where people may suffer life-threatening heart problems is a major health benefit.”

The committee was briefed at a recent meeting on the machine’s use and requirements – including instructions on how and when it can be used – by NHS specialists.

The life-saving machine is intended for use by any member of the public who needs to help a person whose heart has stopped.

Users can call 999 for the Ambulance Service and an operator will provide the access code to the machine.

An ambulance will be dispatched and there are instructions on how to use the machine but the operator will stay on the phone and help talk you through using it.

A defibrillator delivers an electric shock to the heart when someone is suffering from a cardiac arrest.

The British Heart Foundation says around 60,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur in the UK every year.