A RISCA school has decided to buy its own defibrillator after its student council was visited by the campaigning mother of an Oakdale boy who tragically died aged only 15.

Risca Community Comprehensive School council, which is made up of 15 pupils from Year 7 to Year 11, was visited in January by June Thomas, who was promoting our Argus Jack’s Appeal campaign to install a defibrillator in every Gwent school.

The school’s headteacher, John Kendall, said: “The school council said it was something we should have immediately. If something happened and we were waiting for one to be delivered you’d never forgive yourself. It was a no-brainer.”

Molly Newcrews, 15, who is in Year 11 and sits on the council, said the visit made them realise they needed a defibrillator “straightaway”.

Fellow Year 11 pupils Elinor Horton and Eve Szade said that although they will be leaving the school in the summer for Coleg Gwent, Crosskeys, they hope other people there will be trained to use the defibrillator.

Now the school has bought its own one for about £1,000 and it is being kept in its reception. There is also a defibrillator in Risca Leisure Centre next door.

Jack Thomas died suddenly in February 2012 and his parents June and Grant have since raised more than £20,000 through a charity, Jack’s Appeal, set up in his memory.

They are holding a ball at the Hilton Newport Hotel to raise funds for Jack’s Appeal on June 7, 7pm for a 7.30pm start. Tickets for The King and Queen of Hearts Summer Ball are £45 each and include a sparkling drinks reception, a three-course dinner and entertainment.

To book tickets, contact Welsh Hearts on 02920 786521 or e-mail

To donate, send cheques payable to Welsh Hearts, either to Temple Court, 13a Cathedral Road, Cardiff, or to Newsdesk, South Wales Argus, Cardiff Road, Newport. Please write ‘Jack Thomas defibs appeal’ on the back of the envelope.