AFTER 76-year-old Paula Symes went into cardiac arrest in Marks & Spencer atMarriotts Walk in July, staff and ambulance crews sprang into action.

Sadly she could not be saved but now M&S is determined to buy a new public access defibrillator to prevent a repeat of the tragedy.

It is an admirable response.

While there are currently eight devices in Witney, every minute defibrillation is delayed, the victim’s chance of survival decreases by seven to 10 per cent. So the closer the machine, the better.

Some are inside health centres and therefore completely inaccessible at night.

The response by the Rotary Club of Witney and the Round Table has been fantastic, but why have they had to step in, prompted by such a tragedy?

Why does the Government not have a fund to keep the hearts of the nation beating?

Witney’s new defibrillator is likely to be installed swiftly due to the cash already raised. But some communities are not so lucky.

The work of Dick Tracey to get more defibrillators across Oxfordshire is gaining momentum and Witney is leading the way.