THE first life-saving public defibrillator has been installed in the Cogges area of Witney.

Town councillor Suzanne Bartington said she was thrilled with the new piece of equipment, as it was the first device to be placed in this particular area of town.

The device was made possible after joint fundraising by Witney Rotary, Witney Lions and the Round Table, and has been installed outside Cogges Church.

It is already available for members of the public to use if someone suffers a cardiac arrest.

Dr Bartington said: "We're obviously delighted to have our first defibrillator in Cogges, especially because the church congregation is expanding and because of their age range.

"It's important to have access to this device. I work in public health at the moment but I used to be a doctor in a hospital so I know how vital it is.

"We're actually setting up some training sessions with South Central Ambulance Service for staff in the church and in Cogges Manor Farm.

"It's simple to use but the service likes people to be familiar with how to use it."

The training session is due to take place on April 7. Dr Bartington said she hoped a defibrillator could then be installed in every community of Witney.

She added: "We'd like one in Deer Park estate next. We've just had one installed in Madley Park.

"We also have one ready to go in the phone box outside the Town Hall. It might take a couple of weeks as we need to apply for a change of use.

"It's currently sitting in a box in the Town Hall and we don't want it to be in a box in case we need it."

Councillor James Mills of West Oxfordshire District Council, who also helped fundraise for the defibrillator, said: "It seemed the ideal location as it is a well used road through the town close to both Cogges Manor Farm and Cogges Church."

Dr Bartington added: "It's fantastic and we hope to raise awareness of where it is in the town. The closest one before was in Witney town centre, which was just too far away."

South Central Ambulance Service can train anyone how to use the device but it is safe for people to use it without training, as the defibrillator gives voice instructions until an ambulance arrives.