Simon’s on a mission to save lives

Life-saving fundraiser Simon Brookes is installing his 31st defibrillator in Bristol – and he says that’s just the start. 

 Simon, aged 72, from Westbury on Trym, is a former volunteer First Responder for the Ambulance Service in the area. 

 He says the easy to use machines could save thousands of lives of people who have had a cardiac arrest.

 Now he needs more help to pay the running costs of two machines recently installed at Southmead Health Centre and Hartcliffe Community Centre.

 He told the Voice: “Some areas of the city that are less well-off are more inclined to have people at risk of cardiac arrest, because poverty is linked to poorer health.”

The Walkers and Talkers charity, set up by former Gloucestershire cricketer Andy Brassington, raised funds for three new defibrillators after Simon gave a talk at one of the meetings.

But Simon says more money is needed to pay the long term costs, including batteries and replacement pads.

Simon, who used to work for a printing company, spend 42 years as a Royal Marine reservist in his spare time.

 Five years ago he started fundraising for defibrillators, and this month is seeing his latest ones installed at Smythe Road, and North Street, in Bedminster, and outside the Lazy Dog pub in Ashley Down Road.

 Simon spends many hours speaking to shops, pubs and business owners, asking them to help fund defibrillators, which can cost more than £1,700 each, or host them outside their businesses.

He also runs free CPR training for groups and clubs, including training 100 staff and players at Bristol Bears rugby.

“I am 72 now, and certainly plan to carry on.  I don’t like to waste my time sitting around, when I can be busy with this and helping people.”

He realised the importance of community defibrillators during his First Responder work.  “If someone needs resuscitating, it’s no good to them to think what might have been – if only someone nearby had CPR training, or of there was a defibrillator nearby. That’s no solace to the family – no-one wants a ‘what if’.

 “Defibrillators need to be within three to five minutes for the best possible outcome – they hugely increase the chances of survival. I want us to eventually have a network of defibrillators, this is just the start.”

He said most defibrillators are locked, but anyone calling 999 will be given the unlock code, and can easily follow instructions to save a life. One of the machines he installed has already been used 13 times to help sick patients.

 You can find out more on Simon’s website: He is raising £975 for running costs for Hartcliffe here: And £1,300 for Southmead here: