Marathon man’s gift of life

Michelle Holden (right), headteacher of St Bernadette's Catholic Primary School (Bispham) is presented with the defibrillator by Craig and Karen Haydon.
Michelle Holden (right), headteacher of St Bernadette's Catholic Primary School (Bispham) is presented with the defibrillator by Craig and Karen Haydon.
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A dad who ran a marathon to raise money for a school defibrillator has been hailed an inspiration.

Craig Haydon, 35, ran the London Marathon this year, and raised £1,500 for the life saving equipment as well as training on how to use it, at St Bernadette’s Primary School in
Bispham.

The equipment was officially handed over to the school on Monday.

Craig, of Coriander Close, said: “It’s overwhelming to think I have done this.

“I wouldn’t like to hope anybody would suffer from heart problems, but if this equipment is used to save a child’s life it makes me proud that I have been able to provide it.”

Michelle Holden, head teacher of St Bernadette’s, said: “We are really grateful to Craig for giving up his time and commitment for such a wonderful thing for the school. If an event happens, to know that we have this life saving equipment on site is a reassurance for staff and parents.

“Without someone like Craig, who can only be described as an inspiration, it would not be possible because of the cost of a defibrillator and training.”

Craig’s determination to get the defibrillator for the school came after the birth of his son, Jude, who was born with a heart murmur.

Now, at nine-months-old, Jude has been given the all clear by doctors, who say the hole in his heart has healed on its own.

Father-of-three Craig said: “Having a defibrillator on site increases survival from four to five per cent using CPR alone to 84 per cent.

“It’s a nice feeling knowing I have achieved this for the children at the school and the community around it.”

Ex-soldier Craig raised the money for SADS UK, the Ashley Jolly Sad Trust, which raises awareness of sudden arrhythmic death syndrome and sudden adult death.

The charity provided the defibrillator and training to the school.

Mrs Holden said: “The training has been given to all staff in school so that if ever an incident occurs there is someone there who knows exactly what to do.

“There are probably lots of people around, both adults and children, with undiagnosed heart defects and murmurs. To have someone like Craig who is willing to do this for us is just brilliant.”

Craig ran the marathon in three hours and 28 minutes.

He said: “This is a really big achievement.”