Welded steel mesh manufacturer Siddall & Hilton Products has succeeded in raising almost £4,500 for the British Heart Foundation (BHF) and is also donating an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) to the local community.

The Brighouse-based business started supporting the charity in early 2020 as part of a drive to raise awareness of Cardiovascular Diseases (CVDs) and to support fundraising for research into life-saving treatments. Having rolled out CPR training for all employees and installed an AED in the workplace, Siddall & Hilton has now installed a second defibrillator outside its offices on Foundry Street for public use in an emergency.

Director Pam Jackson, who leads Siddall & Hilton’s CSR programme, and Ian Thurley, chief executive, presented the community AED to Jodie Shepherd, area fundraising manager for BHF, and Joanne Watson, community defibrillation co-ordinator, Yorkshire Ambulance Service, at a ceremony on June 11th 2021. The company also made a £500 donation to the Yorkshire Ambulance Service Charitable Trust to help fund another community AED in the region.

Over the last year, colleagues have undertaken a range of fundraising activities, supported by the company. For example, the inaugural Siddall & Hilton bike challenge was held, along with a walkathon and a chocoholics ‘dechox’. The company also made its own £2,000 donation to BHF to celebrate beating its financial targets last year.

Pam Jackson explains: “With many colleagues over the age of 50, we are well aware of the risks of cardiac arrest and want to make sure they are as well protected as possible.

“Some of our team have had first-hand experience of heart issues with the wife of one of our mesh operators discovering during pregnancy that she had three holes in her heart and subsequently undergoing open heart surgery - this saved her life and she is now a mother of three.

“As a result, we are all committed to doing all we can to support the vital work of the British Heart Foundation. We are particularly aware that not only has the charity suffered from declining revenues during lockdown with all 750 of its shops shut, it is now known that those with CVD are more susceptible to the Covid virus and have a higher mortality rate when infected. BHF aims to find the underlying reasons for this and consequently needs additional funding for its pioneering research – it’s really important that individuals and businesses join forces to support the BHF and prevent it becoming another victim of the pandemic.”

Jodie Shepherd, area fundraising manager for BHF in Yorkshire, said: “Since launching in 1961, the BHF has funded ground-breaking discoveries to save and improve lives. However, the last year has been one of the toughest in our history. The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic meant that our investment for new research into conditions such as heart attack, stroke and vascular dementia was cut in half last year, which will ultimately delay important scientific breakthroughs.

“We are, therefore, so grateful for the support of Siddall & Hilton in raising vital funds for the BHF and would like to thank everyone involved for their generosity. Their support will help us to continue to fund our vital research to find cures and treatments for the 7.6 million people in the UK and 261,000 in West Yorkshire living with heart and circulatory diseases in the UK.”

For the last 60 years, BHF has funded life-saving research. Every year, it funds over £100m of research into all heart and circulatory diseases and their causes including strokes, vascular dementia and diabetes.