Life-saving equipment installed in memory of much loved Portsmouth school volunteer

A SCHOOL volunteer’s death has been commemorated with the installation of a life-saving defibrillator.

Thursday, 28th March 2019, 6:04 pm
Updated Thursday, 28th March 2019, 6:06 pm
Stephen Urry

Parade Community Preschool volunteer, Stephen Urry, 54, died suddenly of a heart attack on November 25. The school decided to raise money to install the equipment as a fitting tribute to Stephen’s legacy at Parade Community.

Preschool manager, Cathy Robinson, said: ‘Everyone still misses Stephen and his passing was a massive loss to the school. The defibrillator won’t bring him back but it can potentially save other people’s lives and in that sense provides a fitting tribute to Stephen.’  

A keen handyman, Stephen would make play equipment at the school, organise parties and could regularly be seen laughing and joking with the children. 

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Pre-school manager Cathy Robinson, holding Florence Simmons, two, front, from left, Zavier Boyce, four, Oliver Bateman, four, Tiffany Famuditi, four, and Teddy Bruce Simmons, four Picture: Sarah Standing (280319-4294)

‘Stephen was a big part of the children’s lives and would even take on the role of Santa Claus during the festive period. We are all still coming to terms with his passing,’ added Cathy.

The installation of the defibrillator was the culmination of three months of fundraising in honour of Stephen. The school held a raffle and also set up a JustGiving page.

‘We had an initial target of £600 to buy the defibrillator. After The News covered our campaign things really took off and we ended up with a total of £1,068 which also allowed us to buy the glass case and pay for training,’ said d Cathy.

The installation of the defibrillator is particularly significant for preschool practitioner, Wanda Steward.

Wanda said: ‘The new defibrillator means a lot to me as my daughter has a heart condition and attends Great Ormond Street Hospital. This new equipment could literally save her life.’

The defibrillator was installed two weeks ago and is also accessible to Northern Parade Junior School and the nearby Family Hub.

Cathy said: ‘I believe defibrillators should be installed in all schools as it is not just adults who can die from heart conditions. This is why I wanted this facility to be accessible to the whole community – including if someone was to take ill when passing on the street. We have also invited staff from the family hub and primary school to take part in our training.’

Since Stephen’s death, staff have continued to raise funds in his memory.

Preschool practitioner Jane Duff will be taking part in July’s sponsored pier to pier swim between Bournemouth and Boscombe in aid of the British Heart Foundation.

‘After we lost Stephen, I really wanted to do so something in recognition of his passing. The British Heart Foundation seemed an obvious choice and I have currently raised £500,’ said Jane.

Stephen’s long-term partner Jayne Whatling is deputy manager at the school. Cathy said Jayne was still coming to terms with the loss and was fully behind the defibrillator installation.