HOLYWOOD’S Steiner School was delighted to unveil as new defibrillator that was inspired by pupil Rosa McShane.

The funds for the defibrillator were raised by the Parents and Friends Association (PFA), with a host of events held throughout the school year and the generous support of the whole Steiner community.

Thanks to the donations from the school members and beyond, the PFA was able to purchase the life-saving device that gives a high-energy electric shock to someone in cardiac arrest. The defibrillator campaign was the brainchild of parent and PFA member Aoife Cunningham, whose daughter, 11 year-old Rosa, was diagnosed with a rare congenital heart defect at birth and is scheduled for open heart surgery this year.

“I’m so delighted Holywood Steiner School will now have a defibrillator on school grounds, because living with this condition can be scary,” Aoife said. “Heart safety is so important for my daughter but it will also protect every other child in the school, as well as staff and even the wider community.” Holywood Steiner School unveiled its new defibrillator to the wider Holywood community in recognition of World Heart Day on Thursday.

Class 11 pupils aged 16 and 17 yearsold were also given training on how to use the life-saving device as part of a first aid training course delivered by Mourne Lifeguard Training. “This is an important investment for our school,” said headteacher Peter Chambers. “It’s something that you hope you never have to use, but having it will bring peace of mind not only to parents, but also to staff and even our neighbours.

“Raising the funds was a community effort, and we view it as a community asset,” he added. The Steiner School defibrillator joins several others in the Holywood area. All defibrillators are registered with The Circuit, the national defibrillator network. This provides the NHS ambulance service with vital information so that the devices can be accessed in the crucial moments following a cardiac arrest, so they can better help to save lives.

Holywood Steiner School, opened in 1975, was Northern Ireland’s first integrated school. It is part of the Steiner Waldorf Schools Fellowship, an association of independent schools across the UK and Ireland that take a holistic approach to learning that balances intellectual, artistic and practical abilities in children aged 3 to 17.

Opportunities to visit, take a tour and meet the headteacher can be arranged by emailinginfo@holywood-steiner.