FORMER Malvern Gazette journalist Rob Hale has left a lasting legacy for the town which will help save many lives in Malvern in the years to come.

This tribute to Rob, who has died at the age of 59, comes from Richard Vakis-Lowe, the founder and chairman of Heartstart Malvern, a charity which, he said, would not have been started without the encouragement and promotion in articles by Rob, a journalist for more than 30 years.

Mr Vakis-Lowe said: “Heartstart Malvern was formed following an article that Robert wrote in 2016 about someone who had been resuscitated at Malvern Coach House Theatre. After reading this article I approached Robert with my idea about Heartstart Malvern.

“He gave me lots of encouragement and promoted my plans in countless articles.

“I want to pass on condolences to his friends and family on behalf of everyone at Heartstart Malvern.”

Heartstart Malvern’s aim is to save lives by increasing the chances of surviving a cardiac arrest in Malvern and the surrounding villages. They do this by providing free life-saving training and installing Public Access Defibrillators around Malvern.

Since the launch in January 2017, they have trained more than 5,000 local residents and schoolchildren in how to save a life by teaching them simple resuscitation skills and how to use a defibrillator. Thanks to the overwhelming generosity of many local fundraising groups and individuals they have been able to install 33 defibrillators around Malvern.

Heartstart Malvern celebrated its 5,000th trainee at Dyson Perrins School on Wednesday, 24h January, 2024. During the day, the team delivered life-saving training to almost 150 Year 10 Pupils.

The charity has set ambitious targets to be achieved before its tenth anniversary in 2027. Over the next three years, it is aiming to install at least another 17 public access defibrillators, bringing the total which they have installed to 50.

Mr Vakis-Lowe said: It would be a fitting tribute to Rob if we could achieve this. Each defibrillator costs about £2,000 to purchase and install. They are also aiming to provide free training to another 5,000 local residents.

The survival rate of someone collapsing from a cardiac arrest in the West Midlands is less than 10 per cent. However, if a person is defibrillated between 3 and 5 minutes after they have collapsed, the survival rate can be as high as 70 per cent.

Mr Vakis-Lowe said: “Heartstart Malvern is trying to increase survival. Our plans for the next three years are very ambitious and we do need help from the

local community and businesses to come forward for training and to help us raise the £34,000 needed for the additional defibrillators.

“Over the last few months, we have become increasingly busy with requests for training and would like to recruit a few more trainers. Anyone who could spare a couple of hours a month to spare and is interested in becoming a trainer is encouraged to get in touch.

Anyone interested in attending a free Heartstart Malvern training session can book through or 07926 615812

Heartstart Malvern has set an ambitious target of training another 5,000 people and installing 17 more defibrillators in Malvern before their 10th anniversary in 2027.