WE’VE done it. Thanks to the support of Gazette & Herald readers, The Pulse Appeal has raised a fantastic £2,834.

Our appeal was launched in July following the tragic death of Malton great-grandfather Geoffrey Heward.

Mr Heward died after collapsing in the street, prompting calls for more defibrillators to be available in Malton and Norton.

The Gazette & Herald’s Pulse Appeal was quickly backed by readers who were keen to pitch in to raise money, and was praised by Ryedale councillors and the area’s GPs.

Fundraising events have included a quiz night, concert and coffee morning and dozens of prizes have been donated by local businesses for raffles and auctions.

The latest event – a coffee morning and luxury auction – at Muffins Playbarn in Malton on Sunday raised £490.

Donations have also been gratefully received from individuals and groups.

With the money now raised our appeal turns to the next stage: the search for community-minded readers to become life-saving volunteers.

In conjunction with the Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, the Gazette & Herald is appealing for residents in Malton and Norton to become Community First Responders.

Recruits will form a voluntary scheme, co-ordinated and supported by the ambulance service, which provides immediate medical care to members of the community in the vital minutes before an ambulance arrives.

Community First Responders are trained in basic life-support, Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and oxygen therapy. They are equipped with a kit which will be provided through the money raised by The Pulse Appeal.

The kits include oxygen and an automated external defibrillator (AED) to help patients in a medical emergency such as a heart attack, collapse or breathing difficulties.

More than 2,500 dedicated and enthusiastic volunteers work alongside Yorkshire Ambulance Service and, last year they attended more than 5,700 patients with life-threatening conditions alongside ambulance crews, including many suffering cardiac arrest.

Malton and Norton are the only towns in the area that do not have a team of Community First Responders.

Neil Marsay, community defibrillation officer at Yorkshire Ambulance Service, said: “We know that in many medical emergencies, the first few minutes are critical. If effective treatment can be performed within those minutes, lives can be saved and disability reduced.

“Being part of this initiative can be extremely rewarding and I would encourage anyone who may be interested in helping their local community to take on the role.”

Yorkshire Ambulance Service will provide full training to successful applicants who must be over the age of 18, physically fit and hold a full driving licence.

Candidates will also be subject to a Criminal Records Bureau check. Anyone interested in finding out more should contact the Network Response Team at Yorkshire Ambulance Service, phone 0845 120 3155 or email them at responders@yas.nhs.uk

Alternatively, anyone wishing to register their interest in becoming a Community First Responder can phone the Gazette & Herald on 01653 695600.