Ayrshire woman’s family unveil defibrillator in her memory

Publication date 24 November 2021

The family of a woman from Stewarton in Ayrshire, who died tragically this year aged only 42, have unveiled a defibrillator in the town in her memory.

A group of women pose next to a defibrillator

Laura Henderson, daughter of James and Norah, grew up in Stewarton and moved to Glasgow two years ago after her daughter, Summer, was born.

Laura, who was extremely active, was out for a run in the park in March this year when she suffered a sudden cardiac arrest. Despite the best efforts of those who attended to her, Laura never regained ​consciousness and passed away peacefully a few days later.

Following Laura’s passing, those who knew her were keen to donate in her memory, so her family decided to use some of the funds to donate a defibrillator to the community where she grew up. They also plan to fund other defibrillators when suitable locations have been identified.

St John Scotland supported the family to install the device, which when use alongside CPR can help save someone’s life in the event of cardiac arrest.

The defibrillator was unveiled on 23 November, the day of Laura’s birthday, when she would have turned 43.

A group of people pose with a defibrillator

Laura’s brother Jason Henderson said: “We were distraught to lose Laura at such a young age and in such sudden circumstances. It’s been an incredibly difficult time since she died, but as a family we were keen to do something positive in her memory, so we decided we wanted to install a defibrillator in Stewarton.

“It’s been installed at the Centre, which is where Laura spent many happy hours at the discos in her younger days with her close friends, and so there are lots of happy memories here.

“We hope that by providing this defibrillator, we can prevent another family from going through the same heartbreak we have.”

Volunteers from St John Scotland will be offering a free session at the Centre on Saturday 27 November, where they will be showing people how to do simple CPR, and demonstrating how to use the defibrillator.

Chair of our team of volunteers in Ayrshire, Jess Duncan, said: “Laura’s death is such a tragedy for her family and friends, and for the community here in Stewarton who know the family so well.

“Around 70 people have a cardiac arrest each week in Scotland, yet sadly, only one in ten survive. Performing CPR and using a defibrillator as soon as possible gives the person the best chance of a good outcome. So we’ve been honoured to be able to support the Henderson family to provide the defibrillator for the benefit of the whole community.

“We look forward to being at the Centre on Saturday and we’d encourage everyone to come along to learn what you can do to save a someone’s life, should the worst happen.”

The training is being run in half hour sessions, between 3 - 5pm.

Laura Henderson’s brother Jason says he hopes that by raising awareness, more people can learn what to do to help save someone’s life. He said: “I know many of Laura’s friends will be coming to the CPR session on Saturday. It will be a heartening day for us as a family to see everyone coming together in support for Laura.”