A BRIERLEY Hill karate club kickstarted the year with a belated Christmas gift from West Midlands Ambulance Service.

Paul Campbell’s Karate Academy on Canal Street has become home to an automated external defibrillator (AED which can be used to restart someone’s heart when they’ve suffered a cardiac arrest.

The device was handed over on December 28 and first aid and defibrillator training is now being provided by West Midlands Ambulance Service to five staff members at the academy.

Paul Campbell, managing director at the Karate Academy, said: “It’s absolutely fantastic to have such a powerful piece of kit on site. We teach people from four to 62 years of age and with over 150 people coming through the doors each week, we’ve always got a lot of people here.

“One of my family friends recently collapsed and died; it really does bring home to you how important it is to have help close by when it’s needed the most. It really gives me confidence to know that we’ve got a defibrillator here which could save a life.”

Emma Wilkins, WMAS’s Black Country community response manager, added: “It’s great working with people like Paul as he’s committed to keeping the community safe and is keen to speak to his neighbouring businesses to tell them about the defibrillator.

“If someone at their workplace experiences a cardiac arrest event, Paul wants them to know that help is at hand at the karate academy whilst an ambulance is en route.”

Karate student Kevin Wright, who is also a Treble9 Community First Responder for WMAS, added: “It’s nice to know there’s equipment and people trained to save a life. It shows a true commitment to the community and the wellbeing of the academy’s members.”

Anyone wishing to find out more can call Paul Campbell on 01384 262 811 or visit www.Pckarate.co.uk for club information.