THE CO-FOUNDER of a Worcestershire heart safe charity has described the decision to add CPR to the school curriculum as the ‘best birthday present ever’.
Rob Underwood, who has been calling for life-saving skills to be taught in schools for the last eight years following the death of daughter Charlotte to a rare heart condition, was given the great news on his 50th birthday on Wednesday.
Education Secretary Damian Hinds confirmed the plans to add CPR to the school curriculum in England, meaning thousands of secondary school pupils will learn life-saving skills.
The sessions, due to be rolled out in 2020, will teach the administering of CPR, the purpose of defibrillators and basic first aid treatment.
Rob and wife Maggie, who also lost son Craig in 2013, launched Redditch Heart Safe, which later became the charity Charlotte and Craig Saving Hearts Foundation, in memory of their two children.
The pair, who work tirelessly to get defibrillators installed across Redditch and Bromsgrove and teach life-saving skills themselves, were also left devastated last January when son Carrick also passed away.
Rob said: “When I heard the news about CPR being taught in schools I couldn’t believe it.
“First there was a consultation, then it was debated over and over again – we didn’t think it would happen his quickly.
“We want to create a nation of lifesavers and become one of the leading countries in the world.
“It’s the chance to change society.
“With the way things have been going over the last few years, it would be nice to teach our young people to save lives rather than take them.
“We can teach our children to look out for each other and look after those who need it.”
The pair were nominated for The Sun’s ‘Who Cares Wins’ awards towards the end of last year and although they did not win, Prime Minister Theresa May asked to speak to them, enabling Maggie to convey the importance of CPR being taught in schools.
Making his announcement, the Education Secretary said when he went to university he noticed all the American students knew how to do CPR whereas he ‘didn’t have a clue’.
“As a father I want my children to have the knowledge and skills they need to keep themselves safe and help others, and as Education Secretary I want that for every child.
“Learning the basic skills of first aid and techniques like CPR will give young people the confidence to know that they can step in to help someone else in need and in the most extreme cases – it could potentially save a life.”
Visit ccshf.org.uk for more information on the charity.