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A charity devoted to improving life-saving services for those who unexpectedly have a heart or circulation crisis has made its first donation in Essex to a centre devoted to improving environmental understanding among young people.

The Wilderness Foundation at Chatham Green, near Braintree provides both training and inspiration for those from school groups, others with special educational needs and many additional people looking to improve their knowledge and care of a countryside environment. Its location is also close to the Essex Way, on the course of the annual Essex Marathon. The number of visitors, the extent of its land and distance from other medical facilities made the Foundation well-suited to have its own defibrillation equipment, ready and accessible to use.

This has been made possible by a grant, covering a high proportion of the cost, from the national charity RALPHH whose purpose is to help save lives and reduce damage to individuals caused by heart attacks or other circulatory issues. The charity was formed following the death from heart failure of Robert Allen, who had been a rowing National Schools’ Champion and coach. Money raised by the charity has enabled defibrillators at amateur sporting locations to be installed in areas as widespread as Chester, Barnstable, Diss and sections of the River Thames.

Mounted on the exterior of the Education Centre of The Wilderness Foundation, the defibrillator is kept in a weather and vandal proof case.

“Whilst we hope that the equipment has little cause to be used, its availability should provide so much assurance to people in and around The Wilderness Foundation and the wider Chatham Green community,” said Richard Allen, Chairman of RALPHH. “Too many people die or incur life-changing consequences of previously unidentified heart conditions, so it is right that there should be easy access to support equipment as soon as possible.”

Despite difficult weather conditions a small launch event was held on Tuesday 13th December and pictured left to right are: Jan Roberts, Chief Executive of The Wilderness Foundation; Jane Allen from the RALPHH charity; Essex residents Jan and Tony Suckling who were among the first to financially help launch the charity in 2018; and Terri Dawson, Education Officer at the Foundation.

RALPHH (Robert Allen Life Promotion and Healthy Hearts Trust) will be extending its work in 2023, including a range of differing work in the wider arenas of sailing and extending it support to the sport of rowing. Organisatiosn wishing to be considered for RALPHH support should contact

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