Tragedy inspires family to help others 

A POTENTIALLY life-saving defibrillator has been installed at Clifton Observatory in memory of popular and talented rugby player Sam Polledri, who died aged 24 after a cardiac arrest while on a night out with friends.

Sam, who was a fit and healthy young man, was taken ill at Millennium Square. There were no   publicly accessible defibrillators nearby. Although the emergency services and the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity (GWAAC)  attended, they were unable to save him. 

After his death in February last year Sam’s family, his girlfriend and family friends set up the Sam Polledri Foundation in partnership with GWAAC. Their aim is to raise funds to buy defibrillators and install them across Bristol as well as teaching people how to use them. People   they have trained so far include school, sports teams and passers-by at events such as the annual Bristol International Balloon Fiesta at Ashton Court.

Soon after the defibrillator was installed at the Observatory near the Clifton Suspension Bridge it was used to help save a life but because of patient confidentiality GWAAC cannot give more details. 

Other defibrillators installed around Clifton and the nearby area are at the Downs Cafe, Clifton Rugby Club and Cotham Park.

Since the Foundation started it has raised £66,700. A lot of support has been given by the rugby   community by organising various fund-raising events.  Sam had played for various clubs, including Clifton, Dings and St, Mary’s.

Claire Harris, of GWAAC,  said it was their goal that no one should be more than five minutes’ walk away from a defibrillator. The air ambulance charity has installed 50 across their region. Thirteen were installed thanks to the Sam Polledri Foundation. A further five are in progess.

Sam’s mother Louise said: “I so wish there had been a public access defibrillator available for my beautiful boy but knowing we have made a difference because of Sam’s passing, and that other families may have been saved from our living nightmare, is huge. This is massive. This makes all we have done worthwhile. I know Sam would want us to do this in his memory.”