Pub is at the heart of the town with new fundraising drive…

Nusrat Ghani
FROM THE HEART: (l-r) Leanne Foster, Christopher Hall and Gez Wilmot

It comes after the Times reported last week that the Robin Hood in Sandhurst Road had fundraised for a defibrillator after the sudden death of a resident following a cardiac arrest at the pub.

Now, The Allotment in St James Road, Tunbridge Wells, is fundraising for the life-saving device after the landlord was inspired by watching the Euros football match where Danish football player Christian Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest.

During the fundraiser CPR demonstrations from the Tonbridge & Tunbridge Wells Community First Responders will be taking place after the Times put The Allotment in contact with the organisation following last week’s story.

Landlord Gez Wilmot said: “I think it made a lot of us think as to the importance of having a defibrillator quickly to hand at your place of work or at any location, for that matter.

“It certainly made me think what would happen at the pub if someone had a cardiac arrest on our premises, or indeed anywhere around the immediate surrounding area, including the park.

“In fact, the nearest 24/7 available heart defibrillator to the pub from what I can see using the national defibrillator site would take 30 minutes to run to there and back, or 20 minutes by car there and back if the traffic was good, but this could waste valuable minutes of resuscitation time.”

Defibrillators are used after a cardiac arrest and work by sending an electric shock to the heart to restore its usual rhythm.

“It’s uncomfortable when you see how few defibrillators there are in the Tunbridge Wells”

The closest 24/7 accessible defibrillator to The Allotment is in Silverdale Road, at the St John’s Ambulance building, which is a 15-minute walk from the pub. Another is at The Wells Free School on Mount Ephraim.

Mr Wilmot continued: “It’s actually quite uncomfortable when you look on the national heart defibrillator site to see how few defibrillators there are in the Tunbridge Wells area, certainly defibrillators that are available to the public 24/7 and are registered on the national database.

“Much as I would like to buy a heart defibrillator outright, the cost is too prohibitive for the pub at the moment. To purchase a quality defibrillator that is fixed to the wall you are looking at £1,650.

“I also think that getting the local community involved in fundraising for a heart defibrillator will heighten the community’s awareness of having a heart defibrillator near to where they live.

“I have already spoken to some of our customers and my staff, and they are fully behind fundraising to purchase a quality heart defibrillator that is available to the local community 24/7.

“I am also sending my management team and head chef on first aid courses so we are all fully trained in CPR and how to use a heart defibrillator.

“We are already starting to receive great prizes for a fundraising raffle donated by our fabulous customers, local businesses and pub suppliers – all of whom think that raising funds for this purpose is a great idea.

“Donated prizes so far include a hot air balloon ride for two across the Kent and Sussex countryside, complete with a cider reception on landing (you’ll probably need a drink after that to calm your nerves). We also have prizes such as a deep house clean by two cleaners for four hours, football lessons for a child at a local football academy during the summer holidays, a tasty 3kg of rib-eye steak, and free cocktail-making lessons by a professional for two people.

“To help the fundraising along, we have organised a family-friendly Garden Party at The Allotment pub, complete with a hog roast and jugs of Pimm’s, and other fundraising activities paid for by the pub going towards the heart defibrillator.”

The Garden Party is taking place on July 31.

“The raffle will be held on the same day as the Garden Party, subject to the latest Covid restrictions,” Mr Wilmot added.

“Amongst our many activities on the day we will have a CPR demonstration by Tonbridge & Tunbridge Wells First Responders.

“Any monies raised in excess of £1,650 will go to the British Heart Foundation to help promote heart defibrillators nationwide.

“We will be selling raffle tickets from this week onwards and promoting the event at every opportunity in the lead-up to July 31.”

For more information, see the What’s On section on Page 38 of the July 21 edition of the Times of Tunbridge Wells, or visit


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