VOLUNTEERS at a local parkrun gave up some more of their time to learn life-saving skills.

After the weekly runs for adults and juniors at Forest of Dean park run near Berry Hill on Saturday (February 24), many of the volunteers attended a training event on resusitation and use of a defibrillator.

It was run by Carlotta Appleby from the Great Western Air Ambulance at Five Acres High School which is just across the road from where the Forest of Dean parkrun takes place at Coverham enclosure.

The 27 trainees included a number of volunteers who help at both the adult event and the junior parkrun. 

Forest of Dean parkrun event director Fiona Dean said: “The focus of the course was to teach us what to do if someone is in cardiac arrest – ie if their heart stops beating – and to give us the confidence to start CPR (cardio-pulmonary resusitation and use an AED (automated external defibrillator) to treat cardiac arrest.

“Parkrun have made the commitment to deliver AEDs to every event globally, to ensure that wherever parkrun takes place around the world, the chance of survival for someone who experiences a Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is greatly improved.  

“SCA usually causes death if it is not treated within minutes, so having parkrunners and volunteers who are confident to do CPR and use an AED could make a life-saving difference in an emergency situation, both at parkrun but also in our local communities.  

“We would like to thank Five Acres High School and GWAAC for making the course possible today.”

Saturday’s training was not the first time the issue has been raised recently.

Back in November parkrun volunteers were at the Pride of Coleford awards and they got chatting to another recipient paramedic Paul Nichols who was honoured for his work on first aid courses.

Fiona said: “After a brief conversation Paul kindly agreed to help arrange a CPR / AED training event for the parkrun team, many of whom felt nervous about having to use an AED.

“However, three weeks later Forest of Dean parkrun had to be cancelled because the existing eight-year-old AED broke down. 

“No defib, no parkrun, no junior parkrun.

“Luckily parkrun HQ lent us an AED for the Christmas parkruns and junior parkruns while we set about replacing the old one.  

“We started fund-raising for not one but two brand new fully automatic AEDs, one for each event, in line with the latest parkrun guidelines.  

“We reached our fundraising targets incredibly quickly, new machines were ordered in January and are now in use.  

“The core teams and all the volunteers and runners are very grateful to everyone who has contributed towards the cost of our new AEDs.

Some 84 people, including 18 visitors, took part in the usual parkrun on Saturday.

The mud didn’t stop juniors Stanley Cameron and Travis Edwards skipping round the course in just under 20 minutes.  

Stanley was first home and fastest in the 15-to-17 age group.  

Travis set a new personal best and was fastest in the 11-14 category, finishing just a second behind Stanley.

Henry Cameron was first senior male home but a full two minutes behind the boys.  

 Marina Wright who was first lady home – with her dog who won the pooch of the week competition.

Calvert Lloyd Rees, Joseph Urding, Iain Jarvis, Fletcher Pattison and to Joshua Bailey who all got new PBs.

Fiona added: “The event was possible due to the 27 volunteers who helped out by setting up, marshalling, time keeping and closing down after the event.”