Let’s talk about defibrillators for a while, after all, the heart is the most important part of your body.
We won’t go into any statistics, any data, nothing like that, we’ll just talk about one of Nottingham’s many, unsung heroes, this being Amanda Gretton, and her fundraising activities to get defibrillators into her local grassroots football clubs.
It didn’t start off that way though, after all, and as she says; “it wasn’t even a fact that I wanted ten, just the one would have been nice.”
Like everybody, Amanda was stunned, shocked, brought to tears, by the death of young Jordan Banks, struck by lightning whilst playing football in Blackpool last May, then, a few months later, Nottinghamshire would be rocked with the death of West Bridgford Colts player, Dylan Rich.
Both deaths are well-publicised, and, for Amanda, herself a mother to a budding, young footballer, a chord reverberated within, and she knew, deep down, she had to, wanted to, do something, within her local community.
“After Jordan died, my own boy, Robert, who was ten at the time, went to training the following night, and I started worrying about him” began Amanda, as she explained how it all started for her.
“That, and after the situation at the European Championships last summer (Denmark’s Christian Eriksen, suffered a cardiac arrest during a match with Finland), as well as Dylan, I started asking my son’s club if they had a defibrillator, or if they’d mind my fundraising to get one donated.
“I soon found myself on Twitter, and the donations were flooding in.”
That was at Mapperley All Stars, where young Robert’s dad also coaches; once that had been donated, calls then began to come from other clubs asking if Amanda would do the same there, and, like the proverbial avalanche, it’s not stopped.
Even in the Euro Soccer Nottinghamshire Senior League, with Nottingham Community (pictured with Naeem Rashid) and Gedling Southbank, homes have been, lovingly, fundraised and found for defibrillators.
Support has been astounding, Amanda taken aback by not just the footballing community, but from people like the county’s world champion boxer, Leigh Wood – right now though, Amanda, she’s not stopping.
Although she is unsure as to how things will pan out moving forward.
“I’ve only been doing this since late last year, and it’s just, well, ran away with itself,” smiled Amanda.
“The Forest Community, they’ve been amazing, the donations, just fantastic.
“I just started wanting one defibrillator, and now I’m close to double figures, and still getting clubs contacting me.”
Understandably costly, even with funding assistance in place, Amanda is thankful to that of London Hearts, one portable defibrillator alone comes at a high, three-figure sum.
“The generosity, from everyone, is fantastic, really heart-warming,” continued Amanda.
“I was just looking to help out in whatever way I could, and if the clubs want the help, it’s there.
“For now, I’m just going with the flow; I’m not intending in setting up any kind of charity, just going from one defibrillator to the next and, once I do get that tenth, I don’t know what I’ll do.
“I guess I’ll just carry on for as long as I’m needed.”
Anyone interested in supporting Amanda Gretton, and her ‘Defibs for Grassroots Football,’ visit her Facebook Group here and check out all the amazing work she has done, and continues to do.
Amanda, the Nottingham Sport salute you!
*Article provided by Peter Mann (Senior Correspondent).
*Main image @NottsSeniorLge Amanda handing over a defibrillator to Naeem Rashid of Nottingham Community FC.