TREE OF LIGHTS at Sowerby Bridge

The Rotary Club of Sowerby Bridge held its Tree of Lights switch-on ceremony last Friday and it was attended by over 50 people. The funds raised this year will contribute towards the Club's external Defibrillator Programme in the Sowerby Bridge area.

The Worshipful Mayor of Calderdale, Councillor Lisa Lambert and consort, conducting the official switch-on.

The Club President, Alan Tatham, welcomed those attending and John Kemp, sang two traditional folk songs which were particularly appreciated by those present.

The tree itself is a huge, beautiful, ash tree located in the car park of The Village Restaurant in Sowerby Bridge who kindly make the tree available each year for this purpose.

The lights will stay on over Christmas until 'Twelfth Night'. This is a time of remembering for families, for celebrating and for giving; it is at times such as this that the loss of a loved one can be most keenly felt. The name and the symbolism of our Rotary Tree of Light are reminders that there is light and hope in the bleakest circumstances. The Tree of Light allows sponsors to remember loved ones at Christmas time whilst at the same time raising funds for worthwhile causes which support others who are in need.

The funds raised this year will contribute towards our external Defibrillator Programme in the Sowerby Bridge area. Recent evidence suggests that public access defibrillation is almost 10x more effective in saving lives than just Community First Responder (CFR),  schemes alone. This is nothing to do with skills of the responders, but simply a factor of time to the patient. To give a good outcome, medical help needs to be present at the patient within 4-5 minutes.

Very few CFR schemes offer a 24 hour, 7 day a week and 365 days a year service. However Defibrillator schemes can offer life saving resources to the general public as well as off duty/out of hours medical and CFR personnel.

This is in no way intended to denigrate the work done by CFRs, rather to assist them and also enable members of the public to help people suffering from Sudden Cardiac Arrest or SCA as soon as possible, by providing the best tools possible.

A defibrillator delivers an electrical current through the chest which aims to shock the heart back into a normal rhythm allowing it to pump again.  Rapid response using automated technology can significantly improve the quality of life of a survivor, as the longer the brain is starved of oxygen, the more damage that can occur.  An AED is a portable defibrillator especially designed for people with no medical background.  When applied to the victim, voice commands and screen messages will guide the user step-by-step through the process and its intelligent technology will only allow it to shock a ‘shockable’ heart rhythm.   AED technology opens a window for the public to take on a key role to support emergency services who would otherwise be hindered by the time it takes to reach the victim.  It is argued that AEDs should be as broadly deployed as fire extinguishers and first aid kits

It is this argument which has instigated SB Rotary to raise funds to purchase and locate a number of these devices in the Sowerby Bridge area. Hazel Brindle has lead this campaign for the club and has been very successful in her efforts. The 'Tree of Life Campaign' at Christmas time and other projects have enabled the club  to generate the necessary funds for more than five devices.

A 'Book of Remembrance' will be on view at Sowerby Bridge Library and there will be a dedicated webpage on SB Rotary's website which will enable those donating, family and friends to view them. Dedications can be made via the club's webpage at and donations can also be made via the BT donate page specifically for this event:

One day, hopefully, Public Access Defibrillators will be as common as road signs and those who donate via The Tree of Lights will have contributed to this.

TREE OF LIGHTS at Sowerby Bridge pages:

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