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From Wharfedale Observer, April 18th, 2019
Written by Annette McIntyre

A PIONEERING campaign to create a town of lifesavers is set to be rolled out across the country after huge success in Ilkley. A total of 250 people signed up for the Prepared to Safe a Life campaign which was launched by Ilkley's Virtual College in November. The 40-minute web-based training package aims to create a life saver on every corner. It has already proved popular in the town, with businesses, individuals and 12 pupils from Ilkley Grammar School, registering to take part. Organisers says 98 per cent of those completing the course would recommend it to others.

Virtual College CEO Rod Knox said: "We have had a fantastic response and are delighted to report achieving our target of getting 250 people trained and Prepared to Save a Life – that’s another 250 people in Ilkley who would know what to do if they came across someone who needed immediate emergency first aid, which is a great achievement”

He said based on the huge success of the Ilkley pilot, Virtual College will be working on plans for the national rollout of the free course over the coming months.

Mr Knox stressed that across the country each year many people died who could have been saved if the person next to them knew some basic first aid skills.

When the scheme was launched in November he said: "We want to inspire all local companies to pledge to save a life by taking the course as there are more than 30,000 out of hospital cardiac arrests each year in the UK. Performing CPR immediately can more than double the chances of survival."

He added: "We want a life saver in every Ilkley business and ultimately, in every business in the UK. We’re starting the initiative here in our home town by getting local firms pledging their support, signed up and taking the module. We are recording local pledges using a giant thermometer in our Ilkley office window and want to hit 200 by Christmas."

The programme, which is in partnership with Community Save a Life, was showcased to MPs at the House of Commons in October. It equips users with knowledge and skills such as CPR, the recovery position and how to deal with choking or bleeding.

Mr Knox thanked businesses that had supported the pilot so far, and stressed it was not too late to get involved. To register a company team, or as an individual visit the website and follow the Organisation link or the Individual link.

The online scheme is free of charge.