Darts clubs in Shetland have been raising money to purchase a defibrillator, in honour of a former player.
David Lloyd was a member of the Whitedale Snooker Club (WSC) darts team, but in November last year he suffered a heart attack while playing a home game against the Golf Club darts team.
Despite the best efforts of those who were there, David did not survive. It was a huge shock for his friends and family.
Keith Willis, another member of WSC, described the evening that it happened.
“He’d actually just won his game of darts”, Keith said. “He turned around, put his arms in the air to say ‘Yes, I’ve won’, then put his hand out to shake the hand of his opponent and went flat on his face.”
Among those in the club that evening were four qualified first-aiders, who tried to resuscitate David until the ambulance arrived.
“We started CPR within 30 seconds of him hitting the deck”, Keith explained. “Due to the normal circumstances – fully understandable in Shetland – there was a fair delay before the paramedics arrived. We worked on him for over 40 minutes, and the general feeling was if there’d been a defibrillator available earlier things might have been different. You can never guarantee that, but that was the general feeling.”
After David’s death, Keith said, the team “decided that ‘enough is enough’. Some good had to come out of it. So we set up a collection [to buy a defibrillator] and it’s been very generously supported by various different people.”
Donations have largely come from players themselves. A big bottle on the bar has been filled with notes and coins; the Shetland Darts Association also gave money, donating £200 from a raffle; and Maurice Clark gave £140 prize money that he’d won in a golf competition.
“All the darts teams that come and play at the club have been very generous”, said Keith, “putting their change in the bottle all the time.
“So far we’ve raised over £1,000. We’re needing to raise approximately £1,500 to cover all the costs, but we’re well on our way.”
The defibrillator has been ordered and should be delivered in around six weeks.
“We’re going to make it available to the local football club and the local hall” said Keith, “and we’re going to make sure they have permanent access to where it’s going to be stored.
“We’ve got various people who’ve volunteered to give us the familiarisation training that’s necessary, and once the unit arrives we’ll organise that, involving the trainers at the football club and the people responsible for the hall. And then it will be all systems go after that.
“The ongoing costs of the maintenance of the thing, such as they are, will be covered by an annual quiz. Davie was a great quizzer – a very good quizzer. So we’re going to have an annual quiz in his name, where we’ll run a raffle, and the money from that raffle will be put into the fund which will maintain the unit.”
The defibrillator will be a great tribute to David, the team believes. And while they hope the unit never needs to be employed for real, it will only have to be used once to be more than worthwhile.
“There’s nothing worse than that terrible long wait [for an ambulance]” Keith said. “Nowadays this could happen more and more with all the cutbacks, and I think people have got to be a little bit more proactive. This is just our little way of doing that.”