Chancellor George Osborne has revealed how a campaigning Eastleigh couple inspired him to set aside money to help fund a network of life saving heart defibrillators across the country
When George Osborne visited Botley Mill in December, Conservative candidate Mims Davies introduced him to Graham and Anne Hunter.
The Hunters told him how they had lost their 22 year-old daughter Claire to Sudden Adult Death Syndrome in 2013 when an undiagnosed heart condition caused her heart to stop beating during a hen night at a remote spa hotel.
Defibrillators administer an electric charge to ‘shock’ the heart into beating normally and the Hunters told the Chancellor that had one been available when their daughter went into cardiac arrest, they believed she could have been saved.
Graham Hunter told Eastleigh News that he Chancellor had seemed very sympathetic – it transpired that one of his constituents was the premier league Footballer Fabrice Muamba who suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch but was revived after multiple defibrillator shocks.
Following Claire’s death Graham and Anne Hunter joined forces with friends and family to raise money for free cardiac screening sessions for young people through charity CRY (Cardiac Risk in The Young).
Graham Hunter has also lobbied for emergency heart defibrillators to be installed in public places.
On budget day the Hunters learned that, as one of a number of measures not announced in the budget speech, the Chancellor had earmarked £1 million of funding for the installation of public access defibrillators.
In a statement George Osborne said:
“I met Graham and Anne Hunter on a visit to Botley Mills with Mims Davies. They are an inspiring couple, who have had to endure a terrible tragedy.
“I hope this funding will help ensure that no other family goes through what they have suffered – and I hope it will bring them some small comfort.”
Graham Hunter told Eastleigh News the couple had found the surprise announcement “overwhelming”:
“Anne and I are delighted that the Chancellor has set aside £1million for Defibrillators in Public Places and Schools.
“Both our son Peter and Claire’s husband Andy are so very happy with this result, and we know Claire would have been so proud that she will be helping others as part of her legacy”.