Lasting legacy at Skegness RNLI station could be lifesaver

Kay and Paul Rawlinson with RNLI volunteers at the handover of the defibrillator at the Lifeboat Station.
Kay and Paul Rawlinson with RNLI volunteers at the handover of the defibrillator at the Lifeboat Station.

A new defibrillator has been placed outside the Lifeboat Station which will create a lasting legacy for the parents of a teenager who died suddenly after suffering a heart at football training.

RNLI volunteers joined Kay and Paul Rawlinson on Monday evening to mark the official handover of the life-saving equipment in memory of their son, Craig.

If we can save another family living with the emptiness I feel inside it will be worthwhile

Kay Rawlinson

Mrs Rawlinson, from Burgh-le-Marsh, said: “In 2012 we lost our 18-year-old son to ARVC, an undiagnosed heart condition, while at football training at a local gym, where there was no defibrillator.

“Since then, every June on the anniversary of his birthday, we hold a memorial ball raising money to buy defibrillators and place wherever there is a need.

“If we can save another family living with the emptiness I feel inside it will be worthwhile.”

So far the balls have raised £45,000, with three defibrillators placed in Burgh-le-Marsh - one outside the doctors’ surgery, one outside the Co-op and one outside the nursery - another at Swifts Football Club at Ingoldmells, and others at a golf club and Skegness Football and Rugby Clubs.

Statistics provided by Cry - Cardiac Risk in the Young - state that 12 young children a week die from undiagnosed heart defects.

Next June, the fund will pay for 100 youngsters who play sports to be screened for ARVC at Skegness Grammar School. Mrs Rawlinson said: “in Europe they screen all children who want it and participate in sport and there the occurrence of the problem is 75 per cent less, so it obviously works.

“Those children are our future - doctors, policeman and nurses - and their deaths are preventable with just a simple test.”

Also at the handover was Craig’s friend, Arun Gray, who is the RNLI lifeguard supervisor.

He said: “I was at the sports centre when Craig collapsed and performed CPR.

“We will never know if a defibrillator would have saved him but the one at the Lifeboat Station will be a way of remembering him and helping the community.”

Adam Holmes of the RNLI said they welcomed being host for one of the defibrillators.

He said: “We have similar aims in saving lives and this will be a lasting legacy to Craig.”