The Ards Peninsula First Responder Chairwoman has welcomed the installation of a new Automated External Defibrillator (AED) in Ballywalter, commending the NI-wide initiative it is a part of.

The new AED at Spence’s SPAR on Main Street in Ballywalter is the ninth of its kind for communities along the Peninsula, from Donaghadee to Greyabbey, Ballyhalbert to Portaferry, and are part of SPAR NI’s Heart of our Community campaign to make these potentially lifesaving devices more accessible in local communities.

The device at Spence’s will be registered with The Circuit, the defibrillator network launched by the British Heart Foundation in partnership with the NHS, Microsoft and UK ambulance services, connecting every device to its local ambulance service and the public.

Jamie Nicolls, Chairwoman of Ards Peninsula First Responders commented; “An emergency can happen at any time, and our team welcomes the installation of the AED at Spence’s SPAR in Ballywalter. This is a fantastic initiative from SPAR NI, and we’re thrilled that there are now nine devices of their kind in the Peninsula, all registered with the BHF’s The Circuit, which means that the NI Ambulance Service can tell a person who calls 999 exactly where this defibrillator is, while we make our way to the scene.

“It is vital that members of the public can quickly access an AED in an emergency, which can lead to substantially improved survival rates from out of hospital cardiac arrests.”

Sheena Spence at Spence’s SPAR, Ballywalter added; “We are delighted to be able to bring such essential equipment to our local community. Our store is just a stretch from the sea, and surrounded by playparks, as well as many other local businesses and the Church, so we are perfectly placed to have one of these devices installed right outside our store, available to the local community 24/7.”

Bronagh Luke, Head of Corporate Marketing at Henderson Group which owns SPAR in Northern Ireland, and who spearheaded the defibrillator campaign added; “These defibrillators are easy to use, but the first port of call in an emergency should always be 999. The Ambulance Service will talk the user through everything from locating the device, to CPR and use of it.

“A number of devices have been fitted at SPAR, EUROSPAR and ViVO stores in the past couple of months, with some retailers donating additional devices to local Churches, primary schools and community halls. It brings our total number of Automated External Defibrillators installed outside stores in Northern Ireland to 276, providing a potential lifeline to those who may need it when an emergency happens. All 105 Henderson Retail stores also now have defibrillators installed.

“We know that 20 lives have been saved thanks to our defibrillators, and we hope to see many more installed in the coming months and years.”

For more on SPAR NI’s Heart of the Community campaign, visit