NEW life-saving equipment will be installed in Andover after town councillors approved the latest stage of a project years in the making.

Plans to buy two new defibrillators for Finkley Down Farm and the Picket Twenty Community Centre were given the greenlight at an Andover Town Council Assets and Communities Committee meeting last month.

The defibrillators have since been ordered and will be installed as soon as they are delivered.

Alan Nunn, events chairman at the Picket Twenty Community Centre, said: “It has been a long wait and a difficult battle to get what we at Picket Twenty Community Centre feel is very much needed.

“We have had a great fight on our hands with this, but our good friend Katherine Bird has been fighting by our side to ensure this has happened.

“This is a great success story for the Picket Twenty community.”

Katherine, who put forward the proposal to the town council, has been working with AEDdonate, a charity that supports communities looking to install defibrillators.

AEDdonate offer a package of services which including provision, installation and management of the defibrillator, as well as opportunities to train users.

The packages for Finkley Down Farm and Picket Twenty Community Centre will cost £1,499 each.

A third defibrillator, for the Andover Town Council office, has also been ordered after Katherine negotiated the price down to £930 from over £1,450.

Her work on the project began in May 2015.

Since then defibrillators have been installed at St Mary’s Church, in August 2016, at the former David Mellor Jewellers site, in Waterloo Court, two months later and in the White Hart Hotel in April this year.

She said: “It’s been an incredible learning experience in terms of just having your eyes open to the amount of defibrillators there should be to keep people safe, how many there are, and that it’s not always as simple as finding somewhere and putting it straight there.”

Limits were placed on where the defibrillators could be installed as many of the shop fronts on High Street have glass windows or walls that cannot be drilled into.

Katherine mapped Andover town centre to find suitable locations that were both logistically feasible and ensured people were never more than 500 metres away from equipment that could be used to save a life.

However, she stresses that the defibrillators are only to be used in certain circumstances.

She said: “If you see someone in trouble don’t go and find a defibrillator. Do not.

“If you see something happen in front of you the most important thing to do is to start doing CPR. Anything to keep blood pumping around the body is the most important thing to do.”

“If a second person appears on the scene get them to take over while you go and get a defibrillator,” she added.

“I would encourage anyone if they are in that situation to get it and use it but don’t do that first. First call 999 and do CPR.”

Katherine’s campaign is far from finished as she hopes to help bring more defibrillators to locations across Andover.

“This isn’t the end. I would like to get one at the Phoenix Centre and I would like to get one at Picket Piece and Burghclere Down.”

She added: “My goal is to have one at every community centre in Andover.

“The whole of Andover should be protected and not just the town centre.”