Defibrillators in all schools thanks to dad’s campaign after son’s pool death

The Government is planning to make it mandatory for every school to have a defibrillator following a campaign by a grieving dad.

Mark King’s son Oliver died aged 12 after suffering a cardiac arrest during a swimming lesson.

He believes his son would still be alive today if there had been access to a defibrillator at his school.

Over the last decade Mark and his team have helped install 5,500 new defibrillators – saving the lives of 56 people.

His campaign received a huge boost yesterday when Education Secretary Gavin Williamson raised the issue in Parliament.

He revealed the government is now looking at changing regulations to save lives.

Mark last night welcomed the news saying: “Gavin Williamson’s announcement in Parliament today is a significant moment.

“It is a major step forward and after ten long years of campaigning by the Oliver King Foundation it is hugely welcome.

“The education secretary told us at our recent meeting that he wanted defibrillators in all schools and now he has placed on record this intention in the House of Commons.

“It cannot come quick enough…Defibrillators save lives.

“My son would still be here today if there was a defibrillator available to him. My heart aches every day thinking about Ollie.

“I don’t want any family to experience needlessly losing a child when defibrillators should be on hand.

“Our work will not stop until they are installed in every school in the country.”

Oliver suffered a sudden cardiac arrest during a swimming race at King David High School in Liverpool.

His death in March 2011 prompted Mark to launch the Oliver King Foundation The charity has raised funds to place thousands of defibrillators in schools and other locations.

Mark and his team have also trained more than 100,000 people in CPR and the use of defibrillators.

One of those was Liverpool and England legend Jamie Carragher, 43.

The former defender, who won 38 England caps, was so inspired by meeting Mark that he joined the campaign.

Mark and Jamie met with Williamson two weeks ago at the Department for Education HQ in London.

On monday the Education Secretary was asked by Conservative MP Bob Blackman whether defibrillators would become mandatory in schools.

Williamson told the House Of Commons: “It was incredibly moving to speak to Mark King, listening to his tragic experience of losing his son Oliver, and he was joined by Jamie Carragher as well.

“And it really does focus the need for us to do as much as possible in order to encourage schools to have defibrillators.”

He added: “That’s why we will be looking at changing the regulations that are underpinned by secondary legislation in order to ensure that all schools do have defibrillators in the future, and hopefully prevent such tragedy visiting more families.”

Mark added: “The education secretary told us at our recent meeting that he wanted defibrillators in all schools and now he has placed on record this intention in the House of Commons.

“We are now looking forward to hearing the finer details about regulation change so that all schools have access to this lifesaving equipment and relevant training.”

Last month Carragher said Christian Eriksen’s on-pitch collapse during the Euros “proved the power defibrillators have to save lives”.

He added: “It makes no sense that they are not required by law in all schools and this needs to change.”