A charity set up in the memory of a North Coast nurse practitioner has made a contribution towards the installation of two Automated External Defibrillators in Coleraine and Ballymoney.

Leanne Stewart Murray, wife of Paul Murray and founder of Paul’s Legacy, joined forces with Wilkinson’s SPAR Mountsandel in Coleraine and Route Service Station in Ballymoney to install the lifesaving devices outside the stores, available to the local community 24/7.

Paul’s Legacy aims to help prevent further loss of life from cardiomyopathy in the North Coast area after Mr Murray died suddenly in February 2021, aged just 50 years old.

Leanne commented; “Paul was so full of life, a force of nature who was all about making lives better, both in his work as a Nurse Practitioner and with all of those friends and family he loved so dearly. Sudden deaths like Paul’s don’t need to happen but early intervention is key should someone suffer a cardiac arrest, so we were delighted to help towards funding for two new defibrillators for the local communities around Coleraine and Ballymoney.”

Wesley Wilkinson who operates Wilkinson’s SPAR Mountsandel added; “Having an essential piece of kit at our shop lets the whole community know it is there for them should the unthinkable happen. Together with our shoppers, we raised £800 towards the defibrillator and it gives us all a sense of pride and ownership, while remembering Paul and helping reduce the number of local lives lost to cardiac arrest.”

Michelle Hunter, Assistant Manager at Route Service Station added; “We’re just delighted to have been able to work with Leanne and Paul’s Legacy to get the defibrillator installed. We have a close knit community in Ballymoney and our surrounding areas, right up to Wesley’s store on the outskirts of Coleraine, and joining together for this initiative benefits us all.”

The defibrillators are installed outside of each store, available 365 days a year, 24/7 should they ever be needed. The stores fundraised as part of SPAR’s Heart of the Community campaign which was launched to get defibrillators installed outside every store in Northern Ireland.

So far, fundraising has taken place to install 253 devices and to date, 15 lives have been saved thanks to the defibrillators being readily accessible.

Bronagh Luke, Head of Corporate Marketing at Henderson Group which owns SPAR in Northern Ireland and who launched the campaign added; “There are now 26 Automated External Defibrillators installed at our stores across the Causeway Coast and Glens area, including six in Coleraine and three in Ballymoney, thanks to the two latest installations at SPAR Mountsandal and Route Service Station.

“Working with Paul’s Legacy brings even more meaning to having these devices for the local community as the stores’ shoppers, friends and family all came together to fundraise in his memory and to try and help reduce the number of deaths by cardiac arrest.

“We are delighted to see even more communities benefit from the campaign, well done to all involved.”