BIG HEART: The Lawrence community gathered with Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis at the general store with the installation of a new defibrillator machine.
BIG HEART: The Lawrence community gathered with Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis at the general store with the installation of a new defibrillator machine. Contributed

Heart-starter in Lawrence thanks to community work

ON AUSTRALIA Day this year, Lawrence resident Neville Tabor approached Clarence MP Chris Gulaptis over the need of the community for a lifesaving defibrillator machine.

This morning, Lawrence community groups who helped coordinate the installation of the defibrillator were on hand with health officials and Mr Gulaptis to see their hard work pay off.

The Over Fifties Group, the Lawrence Historical Society, the Lawrence Hall Committee and Lawrence Golf Club all helped make the defibrillator happen, which is now on the outside wall of the Lawrence General Store.

Over Fifties member Robert Murphy said the Lawrence area was in need of the potentially lifesaving piece of medical equipment.

"We would like to thank Chris for helping the community in identifying Lawrence as an area in need of a defibrillator, as we are reasonably isolated,” he said.

"We'd also like to thank Aimee McNeill from the North Coast Primary Health Network for coordinating everything, and Ken and Steve MacFarlane for the use of their centrally located premises to make the defibrillator accessible to the public.

"Also thanks to the community organisations for supporting the project.”

Mr Gulaptis said the delivery of the defibrillator is an example of what can happen when the community and regional health officials work together.

"I advocated for this with the NSW Government after being approached by Neville Tabor from the Lawrence Area Over Fifties Group on Australia Day,” Mr Gulaptis said.

"Neville was inquiring as to whether any government grants or assistance were available to purchase a defibrillator so I went to the Northern NSW Local Health District with the request and their response was terrific.”

"Wayne Jones Chief Executive of Northern NSW Local Health District and Sharyn White Acting Chief Executive with North Coast Primary Health Network worked hard to co-fund a community accessible defibrillator in the Lawrence community.

"Conversations were held with community members living in Lawrence and a sub-committee was established to coordinate the installation of the defibrillator.”

A community launch will be held on June 20 at 10am at the Lawrence Public Hall, which will include defibrillator training and a barbecue lunch.

Free full first aid training will also be available to Lawrence community members on June 27.

For more information on the defibrillator launch or the free first aid training, please call Aimee McNeill North Coast Primary Health Network on 0437 737 191.