Family foundation installs public access defibrillator in Daventry in memory of teenage son, who suffered a sudden cardiac death

Our Jay Foundation has installed four defibrillator units in Northamptonshire and is looking for more locations

A franchisee of an American multinational fast food chain has offered his support to a family foundation's effort to save people from the heartache they have endured following the death of their teenage son.

Through fundraising efforts, Our Jay Foundation is working to prevent the tragic loss from happening to anyone else by funding the purchase and installation of Publicly Accessible Defibrillators (PADs) across the country.

Franchisee Glynn and store manager Geoff from Daventry’s McDonald's decided to get involved and have accessible defibrillator units installed at their location in Vicar Lane, Daventry.

Jamie’s mother, Naomi Ress Issitt, 44, Our Jay Foundation founder and head of trustees, said: “We contacted them to ask if they would have a defibrillator installed, being such a good site that has a lot of visitors. They came back to us right away, very interested.

“The franchise has 26 sites in total, so they’re looking to get them installed even further on.”

Everything started in January 2022 when Naomi set up a fundraising page to purchase a defibrillator for Jamie’s school in Rugby after the family found out that although Jamie’s friends knew that there was a defibrillator nearby on New Year’s Day, it was locked inside their school, so it could not be accessed.

Our Jay Foundation has installed 135 defibrillators and has so far raised more than £150,000 - helping to install defibrillators across the country and donate 15 portable defibrillators to county communities.

Defibrillator number 131 was installed last week right next to the menu board at McDonald's in Vicar Lane, Daventry.

“Just passing on our thanks to them. They’ve made it so much easier by enabling these sites for us and getting them installed so quickly for us,” said Naomi.

McDonald's contributed half of the funding for the defibrillator, and Our Jay Foundation used the grant from Rainsbrook Crematorium to cover the other half of the amount.

Naomi said: “These grants are given out to small charities to help out in the community.

"This huge donation will go towards accessible defibrillators across Warwickshire and Northamptonshire."

Rainsbrook Crematorium donated £14,000 to the charity from the proceeds of recycling metal and orthopaedic implants following cremation.

“It was amazing. Jamie’s funeral was at Rainsbrook in Rugby, so we’ve worked quite closely with the crematorium, and Jamie’s headstone is there as well.

“To be chosen by them as the small charity that they wanted to support was really close to home for us. That is really lovely. We just knew it was going to make such a difference to branch across Northamptonshire,” said Naomi.

The crematorium was built by Rugby Borough Council and Daventry District Council and opened in the spring of 2014. The business joined the Institute of Cemetery and Crematorium Management's national Recycling of Metals scheme when the crematorium opened nearly a decade ago.

The donation will also go towards the upkeep of defibrillators already installed, including the one at the Rainsbrook Crematorium.

Naomi unveiled two defibrillators in November 2023 at Whilton Locks Garden Village and The Heart of the Shires. Jackie and Jeremy Hunt, owners of The Heart of the Shires and Whilton Locks Garden Village, decided to get involved and have accessible defibrillator units installed at their locations since their eldest daughter survived a cardiac arrest at age 29.

In September 2023, the charity unveiled a defibrillator at The Royal Oak, a traditional pub located in the heart of Crick. Soon after, the pub’s staff “very bravely” participated in creating a calendar inspired by the British comedy film Calendar Girls to raise funds for the charity to be able to provide more accessible defibrillators to others.

Naomi is searching for more available sites in the area and urges people to get involved.

The foundation relies on the community’s support and local electricians.

“Northamptonshire, we are on our way, and any sites that are interested in having a defibrillator installed can contact us, and we are happy to chat with people and go through whether or not the site would be a good one for us to have.

“We will install anywhere in the UK,” said Naomi.

So far, the charity has installed defibrillators in Warwickshire, Leicestershire, Staffordshire, Cheshire, Manchester, Liverpool, Devon, Cornwall, and Essex. Four additional defibrillators are now scheduled to be placed in Northamptonshire.

“I can’t disclose some of them because they have not been installed yet,” said Naomi.

People can make a donation on the Our Jay Foundation’s Just Giving page.