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Marathon walk from John O' Groats to Land's End raises £9000 for defibrillators

By Gregor White

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David Sullivan.
David Sullivan.

A former armed forces trainer has completed a gruelling marathon to raise £9000 for charity.

David Sullivan, who is 58 and comes from Oxted in Surrey, undertook the task, which involved walking between 14 and 30 miles every day and camping overnight, to raise awareness of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and to raise funds to enable more communities to have defibrillators installed. At every stop on the journey he trained people how to perform CPR and hit a golf ball.

He set off from Groats 12 weeks ago and reached his destination on Sunday (August 22). His epic trip covered 1100-miles from one end of the country to the other and resulted in him training an estimated 30,000 people in life-saving CPR skills. David also struck a quarter of a million golf balls during his challenge and lost around 920 of them.

His passion for teaching CPR came about in 2016 when, while playing golf, he was faced with a life-or-death situation after a young man experienced a cardiac arrest in front of him. Luckily, David knew what to do and gave him CPR for 17 minutes until the man could be treated with a defibrillator.

"It was thanks to my training, and a defibrillator being nearby, that I was able to help save the man, who luckily made a full recovery," said David.

"When something like that happens right in front of you, it makes you realise how precious life is and how important it is to know what to do in that kind of emergency. It was an experience which profoundly affected me, and now it’s my mission to create an army of life savers all over the country."

David had hoped to raise £60,000 so 60 locations in Britain could get a defibrillator and is hoping that completing his challenge will encourage more people to donate.

"I’m imploring individuals and businesses all over the country to support this endeavour. Until a cardiac arrest happens to you, or someone you know, it’s impossible to truly understand how critical defibrillators are. Being treated with a defibrillator can literally mean the difference between life and death. We saw this recently when Danish footballer Christian Eriksen suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch. It can happen to anyone at any age at any time. Being treated with a defibrillator increases someone’s chance of survival by up to 70 per cent," he added.

Donations can be made by visiting www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/david-sullivan-77.

Golfing retailer, American Golf, sponsored David on his marathon trip. Chief executive, Gary Favell, said: "It’s been fantastic to see the attention that David’s challenge has garnered up and down the country, raising awareness of the importance of knowing CPR, and the enthusiasm that he has shown in training people along his route. Huge congratulations to David on all he has achieved – we hope he now enjoys a well-earned rest having reached his final hole.”

For more information visit www.creatinglifesavers.com

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