Top honour for OK Foundation

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Mark King and MP Maria Eagle with a defibrillator. © Flickr user: Cllr Jake Morrison

Mark King and MP Maria Eagle with a defibrillator. © Flickr user: Cllr Jake Morrison

The Echo’s Pride of Merseyside Awards honoured many of the unsung heroes from across the region last weekend.

The star-studded ceremony, which was held at Isla Gladstone Conservatory, featured several awards for local people’s outstanding actions.

Winners at the event included two boys who have battled serious illness whilst helping others and an 85-year-old lady who helped her neighbours stay independent in their own homes.

There was also an award for a hero firefighter who put his life at risk to help a woman who considered ending her own life.

Other inspirational winners were Jacquie Johnston-Lynch and Ian Mackenzie, who went above and beyond to mentor students with learning difficulties.

Margaret Kelly was awarded for her tireless work with older people while Listening Ear Butterflies Project took a gong for offering support, strength and compassion to young people suffering from bereavement and former international footballer David Campbell was honoured for his soccer academies in Merseyside.

The night’s biggest honour, the Pride of Merseyside Award, was given to the Oliver King Foundation, for its determination to put a lifesaving defibrillator in every school and public place.

The charity was set up by Mark and Joanne King, due to the tragic loss of their son Oliver in 2011. Since losing their son the pair have fought to raise awareness and save lives with the support of hundreds from across Merseyside and elsewhere.

King told JMU Journalism: “I was very humbled to win the award. There’s tremendous work from all of the community, so the award was unexpected, completely out of the blue. For us though, it’s not about the awards, it’s about the foundation.”

The award came on the day that the final defibrillator was installed in a primary school in Knowsley.

He said: “The foundation has gone from strength to strength. Now that we have got defibrillators to all the schools in Knowsley, we are moving onto defibrillators in the community, with 30 ready to go out which we have planned so far. Next, I’m delivering two to Southport Rugby Club.”

Mr King who pays for the defibrillators himself, is not asking for government funding but for the backing of the government to make a legislation, so that defibrillators are easily accessible to all that may need them, wherever they may be, and to help prevent the deaths of 19 children that occur from Sudden Ahhrythmic Death Syndrome (SADS) each week.

About Lauren Cordelle, JMU Journalism