A LIFE-SAVING piece of equipment has been installed at a church in Balloch.

Representatives from the Helensburgh and Local District CPR/Defibrillator Association purchased a defibrillator for Lomond Parish Church.

The machine will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, in the event of a cardiac arrest and will be registered with the Scottish Ambulance Service as well as the Trossachs Search and Rescue defibrillator locator app.

Since 1996, the Heartstart project has campaigned for and installed public access defibrillators, or PADs, in communities across Helensburgh and Lomond, as well as in West Dunbartonshire and the Trossachs.

Sheenah Nelson, coordinator of the Helensburgh Garelochside Rotary Club’s Heartstart project, told the Reporter: “We’ve been putting defibrillators in the community now for the last five years. The defibrillators are all registered with the ambulance service so if someone dials 999 they will be directed to the nearest defibrillator.

“I was delighted that the congregation managed to raise the funds and that we were able to get a defibrillator for them.”

Helensburgh Garelochside Rotary will return to the church in future to deliver training.

Sheenah added: “In the last five years, 28 lives have been saved locally.

“Defibrillator training takes away the fear of not knowing how to use the machine. All you have to do is press a button and it talks you through what to do.

“It will not give a shock unless that is indicated. It’s local money being spent on local lives which is what it’s all about.”

Rev Ian Miller, interim moderator, added: “I think Covid has shaken a lot of us up and we thought it was time for the church to look outwards rather than inwards. If it helps one person, then it’s money well spent.”