A CAVERSHAM couple have raised enough money to buy a new defibrillator following the husband's cardiac arrest, last year.

Gary and Helen Weller from Caversham formally launched the new defibrillator on Monday (September 9) at Perfection Nail Salon on Prospect Street where it will be located.

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Mr Weller, 62, suffered a cardiac arrest at his home last year in which time his heart stopped for eight minutes. Quickly to the scene were the South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) who managed to save Mr Weller's life.

Following his cardiac arrest, the couple decided to raise money for a defibrillator.

Mr Weller explained: "Because it happened to me, it could happen to anybody.

"I wasn’t overweight, I don’t smoke, I don’t drink an awful lot, I’m quite fit and it just bought it onto me that that could happen to anybody at any time and any age.”

Mr Weller doesn't remember his cardiac arrest or the five weeks he spent in the Intensive Care Unit.

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He said: “I don’t remember a thing, Helen told me everything.

"They (SCAS) were absolutely brilliant.

"I had three crews and that’s all I can tell you.

"I had no idea that I spoke to them, I had no idea that anyone was there.

"No memory of going to hospital, nothing.”

To raise the £1,000 needed for a new defibrillator, the couple held a fundraising evening at the Bina Tandoori in Caversham where they had live music, raffle prizes and an auction.

Both thanked the Bina's owner for his kindness in letting them have his restaurant for the evening.

Now, thanks to the couple, there is a new defibrillator available to the public in Caversham.

The nail salon was chosen to fill a gap in the area but also because the owner of the salon, Amy Nguyen, has a special relationship with the couple.

She explained: “Mr Weller and Mrs Weller are my English parents and we are very close.

"I was there with him during his cardiac arrest and for many weeks after that as well.

"I’m grateful that we were able to get enough money to get the defibrillator and to be fitted in my salon as well to be able to help save people’s lives.”

To use a defibrillator, you don't have to be trained.

Ben Westley, Community Engagement and Training Officer for SCAS, said: "Anyone can use it.

"It’s very easy.

"It’s got a voice in it that talks you through every single stage and if you phone 999 the operators will help you through it as well.”

The defibrillator is open to the public Monday to Saturday from 9am until 6pm.

If the public require the defibrillator outside of these times, they are urged to call 999 as normal.

Head of Operations for SCAS, Kirsten Willis, said: “It’s really important that people know they exist and they are accessible and we very much promote the Save a Life app where people can download a free app from the normal app store and get that information.

"So it will come up with the information they need, where they can locate it, the times they’re open and available and they can easily access them.”

She added: “Thank you very much to these guys for what they have done in supporting that.

"It makes our life a lot easier if we have got people that are delivering, whether it be a shock or CPR, in the community before we get there.

“Obviously we strive to get there as soon as we possibly can but we can’t be on every street corner.

“We need that community engagement to be able to respond to that so we do very much thank them for their fundraising efforts as well and hopefully that will become wider across communities.”

The British Heart Foundation's Restart a Heart Day is taking place on October 16, this year and SCAS will be involved.

The day will raise awareness of cardiac arrest and help people to learn CPR.