A PROJECT to have 12 defibrillators installed across Barnsley in memory of an ex-council employee is gathering pace.

Paul Jolley, who died aged 45 on January 20, used to work for the North East Area Council and his time as a community development officer in the Monk Bretton and Royston wards saw him in regular contact with multiple voluntary groups in those areas.

Anna Roberts, a Royston-based community first responder, was working alongside Paul up until his tragic death and has founded a new organisation - Jolley Good Defibs at the Heart of the Community - in the hope of having the life-saving equipment fitted at community hotspots across the town.

The device gives a high energy electric shock to the heart of someone who is in cardiac arrest - an essential life-saving step.

Anna, of Newtown Avenue, said: “Paul was a lovely guy and I approached him with this idea before he passed away, so I want to kick on and get them installed in his memory.

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“There are a few defibrillators in Barnsley but there’s not enough, so potentially having 12 more could save lives. In the Royston area in particular, there’s one at the petrol station in Carlton and another in nearby Notton, so there’s a real need for more.

“It will be a big achievement if we can achieve the goal, but the wheels are in motion and it’s all being done in honour of Paul.”

The group is now a registered community project, which will enable applications for grant funding to be done, and could tie in with area councils across Barnsley who have set out plans to increase the number of defibrillators currently available.

Coun Charlie Wraith said: “Paul wasn’t just a great employee, he was a friend to many people and was extremely well-respected as this project shows. He did so much positive work and he’ll always be missed.

“He was a great bloke who had time for everyone. He went above and beyond his role and nothing was ever too much for him - he’d go out of his way to help.”

The father-of-two, who also had two step-children, lived in Grimethorpe and was married to Susie, who works for Berneslai Homes.

Anna added: “It’s all being done with Paul’s family’s permission and it’s had a great response so far. We’ve set up a Facebook page and we’re already booked to attend local galas to drum up support.

“Unfortunately defibrillators are expensive, usually costing around £1,000 each, but we will do all we can to hit our target.

“There’s no price on saving lives though so we are determined to get these vital pieces of equipment in Barnsley.”