Life-saving medical kit at Wigan club is a double tribute

A Wigan community project has unveiled a life-saving piece of medical equipment which is a moving tribute to two much-loved people.

Friday, 1st March 2019, 1:38 pm
Updated Friday, 1st March 2019, 2:47 pm
The unveiling of the defibrillator at Garswood Hall Bowling and Community Club

The defibrillator at Garswood Hall Bowling and Community Club in Ashton has been named in memory of committee member Ellen Critchley and tragic Blackpool man Alistair Muir.

Other news: A bird’s-eye view of how Wigan's major new link road is developingEllen came up with the idea to raise money for the vital medical kit but sadly never saw it installed as last year she lost her brave battle with leukaemia.

And the link with Alistair, who died in 2016 after he had a cardiac arrest on an aeroplane with no defibrillator available, came about after his mum Glynis Muir moved to Wigan to be closer to the rest of her family following the tragedy and was recommended to the Bowl and Plate scheme at the Nicol Road venue by a community link worker.

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After hearing that a fund-raising effort so close to her heart was in place, she immediately wanted to get involved and Alistair’s family contributed £500 towards the £2,000 cost of the equipment.

The defibrillator, a top-of-the-range piece of equipment, was unveiled last week in front of both Ellen and Alistair’s families and Wigan Council’s new chief executive Alison McKenzie-Folan.

Bowl and Plate uses the venue’s crown green bowling facilities to bring Wiganers together and tackle social isolation, with participants invited to either polish up their skills at getting close to the jack or simply enjoy a bite to eat and some activities in the clubhouse with new friends.

Project manager Nick Shaw said: “Around June last year Ellen suggested raising funds towards a defibrillator for the club. At our annual family fun day we decided to sell tickets with proceeds going towards the purchase. We sold every single ticket we had printed. Sadly Ellen never got to see her idea made into reality as she passed away at the end of August last year.

“Within a couple of weeks of Glynis attending a Bowl and Plate she heard we were fund-raising and on informing her daughter-in-law the family felt it would be appropriate to donate funds.

“Glynis comes to Bowl and Plate every week. She’s made herself a club member, made many new friends and has joined one of the ladies’ bowling teams for the 2019 season.

“We raised just over £2,000 and that enabled us to buy the best that’s out there on the market, which is named after Ellen and Alistair.”

Ms McKenzie-Folan attended the defibrillator unveiling as the town hall has supported Bowl and Plate since 2016 through the Community Investment Fund.

Around 90 people attend each week, with the scheme winning a major council community award.