Family unite for fund-raising campaign in memory of popular Harry
A grieving family have reached their first major milestone in a campaign to get more defibrillators in the borough, raising enough money for the first life-saving machine.
Maria Lawton, from Orrell, lost her husband and soulmate Harry in January this year on the day she should have been celebrating her 49th birthday.
Harry, who was in intensive care following a car crash, had moved wards after showing signs of improvement but shortly after suffered a massive heart attack and died aged just 53 years old.
As the family try to come to terms with their staggering loss, Maria along with her nine-year-old daughter Keira, her son Connor and his girlfriend Emily, both 18, have decided to try to put as many defibrillators in the borough as they can so that other families do not have to suffer the same way.
The campaign, which has been running since September, has now reached its £2,000 target, enough to see a defibrillator installed at Madison’s Cafe in Orrell.
Maria has been using the JustGiving page and social media to thank those who have helped her raise the initial target.
She posted: “My Harry was a loving husband and father, a talented singer, a dark poet, a superb cook, a funny, loud, protective, proud, selfless and fair man.
“He was a lot of things, but what he was mostly, was loved, loved by his family and his friends.
“And this love has been shown by so many of his friends in the massive generosity you have shown in helping his family to raise so much money towards buying our first public defibrillator.”
The group’s hard work has included the Colour Run, during which Wigan granddad Neil Rigby died suddenly.
The tragedy spurred Maria on to raise more money for his grieving family, who asked that all donations be given to the Lawtons’ cause.
Maria told the Observer: “It’s so difficult to actually so those words to people in person because this fundraising has all been based around losing someone so important to me and if I ever actually ‘speak’ about Harry I usually end up upset so I avoid it.
“Being able to thank people online is a bit of a saviour for me. Everyone has been so supportive, not only in donating but sharing the post and also members of Orrell Jiu Jitsu actually came out in freezing weather to run the Glow in the Park with us a couple of weeks ago.
“So thank you to everyone for their support in every way.”
Aspull and Haigh Women’s Institute is also celebrating its hard work to install a defibrillator in its local community.
Meanwhile, members of Aspull and Haigh WI hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Salter’s Chemists on Moorside in Aspull to unveil their newly-installed defibrillator. The defibrillator was bought with funds applied for by the WI from the Co-op community funds.