Ben Nevis climbers aim to keep Whittlesey full of life-saving defibrillators

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Determined climbers are preparing to scale Ben Nevis to make sure Whittlesey’s large stock of defibrillators can remain in use.

Deborah Slator and Diane Ahearne are currently training to mount Britain’s largest peak as they fundraise for the upkeep of 48 defibrillators in and around Whittlesey.

Deborah, who founded the charity Defibrillators for All in 2013 to make sure anyone suffering a cardiac arrest has a better chance of survival, said money is needed “even more than usual” due to cabinets hosting the life-saving equipment beginning to perish, while some of the defibrillators also need replacing.

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Moreover, there are ongoing costs such as the upkeep of the pads and batteries which totals £4,800 a year.

Diane Ahearne and Deborah Slator during a previous climbDiane Ahearne and Deborah Slator during a previous climb
Diane Ahearne and Deborah Slator during a previous climb

Deborah explained: “The cost of replacing the cabinets which house the defibrillators is £415 each. Due to corrosion, general wear and some faulty locks that are difficult to open/close we have decided that we should replace all the cabinets and purchase a uniform cabinet across the board.

“The replacement cabinet will be made of polycarbonate, is guaranteed to be rust free and comes with a 10 year warranty. This will cost £17,430.

“We have a number of defibrillators that we would like to upgrade so again we have just one type of defibrillator across the board. Each unit costs £775. The total cost for this will be £17,050.

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“Every year a group of up to 20 climbers take on a sponsored challenge to help with fundraising. We have climbed Mount Snowden, the Yorkshire Three Peaks and Scafell Pike.

“This year we had planned to climb the highest peak, Ben Nevis. We had over 20 people keen to do the climb but, because of lockdown, they have all dropped out one-by-one.

“However, my friend Diane Ahearne and myself still plan to climb. I have set myself a target of £500 sponsorship.”

Deborah and Diane - who have a combined age of 123 - expect that the climb in Scotland, which they have been training for, will take in excess of 10 hours to complete.

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Deborah added: “Our motivation is helped by the support of people in our community. We will miss the usual climbers and the teamwork that usually helps us to reach the top.”

People can sponsor Deborah and Diane by emailing [email protected].

Donations can be made at:

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