A NEW charity has been launched to teach members of the public how to use defibrillators - and potentially save a life.

Around 100 guests turned out to celebrate the launch of Heartstart Malvern and its campaign Saving Lives Together on Friday, January 27.

The charity wants to increase survival rates for people who suffer heart attacks in public places, by teaching basic resuscitation techniques and installing defibrillators around Malvern.

Speaking at the launch, Heather Hunaban, from Cradley, explained how she waited 15 minutes for a defibrillator after her husband John collapsed at the Coach House Theatre.

Due to the actions of three members of the public, who carried out CPR, and a community first responder using a defibrillator - her husband survived.

She said: "A cardiac arrest can happen to anyone at any time and without any previous warning.

"Thanks to their quick response, John is alive and well today. We have enjoyed two more birthdays, Christmases and various holidays together.

"It is vital that many more people are trained in these life-saving skills."

As part of its Saving Lives Together 2017 campaign, Heartstart wants to install 49 defibrillators around the town - bringing its total to 50.

According the charity, the current survival rate for someone suffering a cardiac arrest in Malvern is less than 10 per cent. It hopes to improve this to 25 per cent.

Harriett Baldwin, MP for West Worcestershire, was at the launch along with town mayor Cynthia Palmer.

Mrs Baldwin said: "There is already a growing number of defibrillators in Malvern and each additional defibrillator will make a huge difference to the chances of people surviving a cardiac arrest. I congratulate the wonderful volunteers involved.

"I am happy to lend my support to this campaign, I am planning to book onto a Heartstart Malvern training course and look forward to hearing about lives being saved thanks to Heartstart Malvern."

Heartstart Malvern is urging residents to come along for free training, which takes less than two hours.

It is also calling for businesses to financially support its campaign to buy and install defibrillators.

For more information call 01684 342999 or visit heartstartmalvern.org.uk