SCHOOL staff have been taught how to use new lifesaving equipment by the mother of a boy with a hereditary heart condition.

Paramedic Alison Vinson, from Abbey Close, St John's, was on hand to show staff from Blessed Edward Oldcorne Catholic College how to use their new defibrillator.

Headteacher Sean Devlin said it made "absolute sense" to have the equipment at the school on Timberdine Avenue.

It was funded partly by the school and by Redditch Heart Safe, a charity which educates people on the use of defibrillators and is campaigning to make them mandatory in at least certain locations.

Training was given to teachers, office staff and the school's nurse the day before pupils returned to start the new school year.

Mr Devlin said: "It will be in the foyer and easily accessible if it is needed by children, parents or staff.

"We would like to thank Mandy from Redditch Heart Safe for assisting us in the purchase and Alison for providing training on behalf of West Midlands Ambulance Service.

"We're also grateful to staff who came in for training."

Maths teacher Peter Gallagher, who runs the DofE Award at the school, was one of those who had come in to learn how to use the equipment.

He said: "I think one of the key things is that we not only have 1,000 pupils and in excess of 100 staff but on some days we have, for example, a show on in the evening where there might be 200, 300 people on site and we have no knowledge of their conditions.

"We will be able to deal with any emergency situation that arises."

Mrs Vinson originally helped to organise a defibrillator in Pitmaston Primary School where her nine-year-old son James attends.

He was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy - a condition where the heart muscle becomes thickened - in May which spurred her on to help the school fund a defibrillator.

She has written to other schools in Worcestershire to offer training if they decide to purchase a defibrillator and Blessed Edward took up the offer.

"I'm pleased to see other schools taking it up and would definitely take on any schools who want to purchase a defibrillator.

"For James, it was not only about his condition but also for other children and people in general and to give an understanding about how to use it."

Anyone interested in finding out more information should contact Mrs Vinson on