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Wednesday 18 September 2019

Life-saving devices in phone boxes 'will be tribute' - widow

Defibrillators can save lives
Defibrillators can save lives

The family of a man who died from a heart attack is campaigning for defibrillators to be installed in old phone boxes around the country.

John Tully (54) died suddenly as he lay in bed at his home in Co Meath in June 2017.

There had been no warning signs before wife Sandra came back from making a cup of tea and found him.

Now she and her three sons have installed a defibrillator in an old-style phone box on the road where they live, between Julianstown and Duleek.

Heritage

They will also help to train more people in the locality on how to use the devices and they hope that their example will persuade other communities to follow suit.

The family believes better provision of defibrillators will strengthen the chances of survival for others who suffer a cardiac event. "An old phone box is a part of old Irish heritage so it only seemed fitting to place the AED (defibrillator) in one," said Ms Tully.

"Everyone will know where it is and where to get it from if the need arises."

The family only found out after losing Mr Tully that there was a defibrillator in Julianstown, 7km from their home.

There is also a device in Duleek but with the new one, they will give locals a better chance of survival as it cuts the distance between locations.

Using a phone box as a home for the device was also a nod toward a family joke, said Ms Tully.

"He would ask, 'Why couldn't you ring me?' and I would reply 'I had no credit'," she said.

He would reply with, 'There are public phones you know!' Everywhere we went, he would point them out to me.

"So I felt it only fitting that we would get the AED installed in an old phone box.

"By publicising this, we hope that other communities will do similar projects in their area.

"We felt it was a piece of Irish heritage but it is also a piece of us, as a family, and when we are long gone it will still stand and remind everyone of John."

The phone box was made by Thomas Hassett Concrete Studios in Limerick, who put Ms Tully in contact with the Heart of Ireland project in Killarney, Co Kerry, which also supports phone box AEDs.

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