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Teaching everyone to save lives

We’ve been speaking to Tennis Leicestershire about their progress in making the whole league ‘heartsafe’ and how others can look to do the same so anyone can learn how to be a Lifesaver.

The Tennis Leicestershire chair, Kate Stock, with the support of the Board, contacted all clubs to find out which organisations had defibrillator access after a member of her own club nearly lost their life as a result of sudden cardiac arrest (SCA).

The member was playing away at a different club at the time of the incident and was treated immediately with their onsite defibrillator, a measure that saved his life.

Fortunately, had this happened at their home club there was also equipment on site to help revive them. 

Following this personal encounter with the importance of life-saving equipment, members of staff and volunteers began contacting clubs and advising those without defibrillator access on purchase, funding and the Joe Humphries Memorial Trust (JHMT) training options available to them. 

JHMT is an organisation set after the tragic loss of Joe Humphries, who died of an unforeseen heart condition at 14 when he was out jogging with a friend - 

Currently, 48 out of 49 clubs are compliant - a massive achievement for Tennis Leicestershire, recognised at the recent Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) annual general meeting, by LTA president, Sandi Proctor in her opening speech.


Clubs were contacted to confirm their access to automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and to discuss any steps required to secure one if they were currently without.

The process presented a number of difficulties:

  • Clubs had very different legal structuresSome provided sessions from parish council-owned land, some in leisure centres or centrally-managed courts and some on privately-owned land. This meant finding the right point of contact often proved difficult.
  • Many club contacts (as provided on their websites) were out of date or included personnel that no longer worked on site.
  • Some clubs were hosted in centrally-managed or larger multi-sport venues and were unaware of where onsite their AEDs were located.
  • Clubs without AEDs noted a significant issue accessing the funds to purchase one immediately.

Despite the challenges, the communication from Tennis Leicestershire to each community club was a powerful way to reinstate outdated lines of communication and build stronger personal connections between volunteers.


Some clubs were proud to share their stories of using increased membership costs for one year to pay for the AED, fundraising effectively or benefitting from grant funding.

In addition, JHMT were on hand to provide free AED casing, site visits to decide on the best location for storage and free training to all.

Now, only one club in Leicestershire remains without access to an AED and the work continues.

A reminder that initiating cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and using an AED within the first 3-5 minutes after a SCA can increase someone’s chances of survival by 68%.

What next?

The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) are supportive of this work nationally and are keen to promote ways in which they can help this cause further.

We’ve been aware of the brilliant work Tennis Leicestershire have been doing for some time and wholeheartedly commend their amazing efforts to go above and beyond to help save lives. We all know how vitally important defibrillators are in an emergency and fully support all clubs to follow this example if they are able to do so. The LTA is working in partnership with WEL Medical to provide the award- winning defibrillator at a special price for all LTA registered venues and there will also be other opportunities locally that venues can explore.

Iain Lancaster, club and county support manager

The JHMT also recommends all members of an organisation complete the free online UK Coaching SCA e-learning module.

Top tips for organisations without AEDs

If you’re part of an organisation that currently don't have access to, or are unaware of the location of, an AED, Tennis Leicestershire and the JHMT have some key recommendations. These include: 

It only takes one person to start the conversation.
Promote everyone’s capacity to be a life saver and the importance of having the appropriate means to help others.
Take advantage of the free training and support offered from JHMT.
Keep an eye on available funding.
Stay connected with local organisations for support, advice or AED use if they’re nearby.