Leeds woman honours late husband by fundraising for life-saving defibrillators

Andrew kemp memorial defibrillator fund
Alison and Debbie fundraising at Bramley Lawn earlier today. Photo: John Baron

A Leeds woman is honouring the memory of her husband by helping to raise thousands of pounds to buy life-saving defibrillators.

Debbie Kemp is currently raising for the 15th defibrillator following the sudden death of her husband Andrew Kemp who died of a cardiac arrest aged just 60 at the Corn Exchange in Leeds in October 2020.

Mrs Kemp, of Gildersome, has formed the Andrew Kemp Memorial Community Defibrillator Fund, which has just registered as a charity, in a bid to save the lives of others.

Andrew was a former president of West Leeds Old Boys Rugby Club, based in Oldfield Lane in Wortley.

She said: “Andrew was fit and healthy and looking forward to retirement. We were walking together happily at the Corn Exchange, and the next thing I knew he was on the floor. When I spoke to the 999 operator she was asking whether there was a defibrillator nearby and there wasn’t.

“Having a defibrillator means you have a 70% better chance of surviving. There used to be only three in Leeds city centre at the time.

“After Andrew’s passing I needed something positive to do and I managed to raise enough money to buy a defibrillator the Corn Exchange. Andrew was such a lovely, gentle man and I wanted to do something in his name.”

The new charity is holding a number of fundraising Christmas fairs during the festive period. These include:

  • West Leeds Rugby Club, Blue Hill Lane, Wortley, on Friday, 18 November (6pm).
  • Esholt Memorial Hall on November 27, 10am-2pm.
  • New Farnley Community Centre, 10am on 1 December.
  • The Beulah, Farnley, 5pm-9pm on 1 December.
  • Head House hairdressers, Horsforth, 5 December 6pm-8pm.
  • Lancesterian Schoolroom, New Farnley, December 9 1.30pm-3.30pm. Includes a coffee afternoon.

The Christmas fairs feature quality goods at reasonable prices, which is also helping people in difficult financial times.

Alongside fellow campaigners Alison and Christie, Mrs Kemp also runs a community cafe at Esholt Memorial Hall, in Main Street, every Sunday, 10am-2pm to help raise funds. The cafe serves everything from reasonably priced full English breakfasts to toasties and hot drinks.

To support the charity, make a donation or form more information, e-mail dkempmrs@gmail.com, or call 0754 1443251.


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