A new life saving defibrillator was launched in Bellanaleck on Saturday following a fundraising drive by the local community.

The automated external defibrillators (AED) are portable devices which check heart rhythm and can send an electric shock to the heart to try to restore a normal rhythm.

The event at The Moorings restaurant was attended by a representative of the Cormac Trust, a charity set up in memory of Cormac McAnalle who was just 24 when he died suddenly in his bed in 2004 from Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS), an undiagnosed heart condition.

It was 15 years to the very day that the Tyrone GAA captain died.

Sara Turkington said she was delighted to attend the event having supplied the AED, saying the Trust “value the work that you do.”

“My own family have experienced the shock of sudden death. We admire and applaud Charlie and I understand he’s had a lot of support from this community,” she said.

The defibrillator, which was officially unveiled by local man George Thornton, has been attached to the wall of the restaurant and is situated metres from Lough Erne and the nearby marina.

“This is the second defibrillator in the village, there is another one at the parish hall,” said Mr. Thornton. “I’ve never needed one and I hope I don’t, but it is there if it’s needed. We are really indebted to you Charlie.

“I am from the village and I like to hear people saying something good about Bellanaleck, it makes a big difference to me,” said Mr. Thornton.

Moorings Manager Charlie Oldcroft expressed his gratitude to all those who contributed to the fundraising events, including his parents Charlie and Ethel, telling the assembled crowd on a rain soaked Saturday: “A lot of you here today have played a big part in making this happen, it is now a legacy.”

Tracey Sutton, a visiting nurse from California, also spoke at the event, explaining that during her journey from Donegal to Fermanagh the day before she “lost” her uncle and aunt in the car behind after they experienced a flat tyre.

“We walked in the door of the Moorings and Charlie greeted us; right away he said ‘let’s get in the car and find them’. He was so genuine, he said ‘I want to help you’,” she said.

Having worked as a nurse for over 30 years, she told the event that she is “very familiar with AEDs”.

“We see them all over California. Where we live in a 20 mile radius there is probably four or five hospitals including one major trauma centre. Here there’s not help at the side of the road for someone with a flat tyre. So hearing there is an AED in this rural area, it’s very important.

“A cardiac arrest or heart attack happens right in front of you, you could be down by the lake and someone you know falls to the ground. What are you going to do? You are going to get help, you are going to grab the AED. Don’t be afraid to use it, you could save somebody’s life from that lethal cardiac rhythm.

“Charlie was willing to go out of his way to help someone he didn’t know, and... save someone’s life. If that happens you go out of your way and… save someone’s life,” she said, to loud applause.