A CAMPAIGN has been launched for life-saving kit to be installed at a recreation ground as a tribute to a football fan who died suddenly.
Family and friends of Roger Kilford are hoping to raise £1,200 to buy a defibrillator for Drayton Park.
Roger, who lived near the park, died unexpectedly in the early hours of New Year’s Day.
His daughter-in-law, Kerrie Kilford, who is secretary of Fleur de Lys youth football club which uses Drayton Park, believes a defibrillator would be a fitting tribute to Roger.
She said: ‘Although his death was unexpected he had previously expressed a wish not to have flowers at his funeral but for charity donations to be made instead.
‘Paramedics spent a long time trying to revive him after he collapsed shortly before midnight on New Year’s Eve.
‘Although unsuccessful, it was not for the want of trying and they did everything they could before pronouncing him dead shortly after midnight.
‘My mother-in-law, Linda Kilford, has asked that we collect donations to buy a defibrillator to be stored in the clubhouse at Drayton Park.
‘Roger and Linda both grew up in Portsmouth and had recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.
‘They both used to come over the playing fields on weekends to watch the kids play football.’
Kerrie said Roger had offered his time to help repair and decorate the clubhouse.
She added: ‘The club would be honoured to have the defibrillator installed at Drayton Park – particularly if we can help anyone in an emergency – and we want to help raise funds for this in Roger’s memory.’
Defibrillators work by ‘shocking’ the heart back into action if someone goes into cardiac arrest.
There has been a shortage of them in Portsmouth and south-east Hampshire, but dozens have been installed in the past six months, partly due to increased awareness from The News’ Heartbeat campaign.
The best place to put defibrillators is in areas where lots of people congregate, such as parks, community venues, schools, and shopping centres.
Kerrie added: ‘There are many children playing football and accompanied by parents or grandparents and also many dog walkers.
‘Any one of these could benefit from the availability of the defibrillator.
‘If his loss can help just one person this would have pleased him immensely.’
An online page has been set up for people to give donations.