Folow us on social media

Sign up to our mailing list

Defib lesson well learnt

POSITIVE: Jim McIlwaine (left) with Joel Flannery and his parents Angela Forsythe and Joseph Flannery POSITIVE: Jim McIlwaine (left) with Joel Flannery and his parents Angela Forsythe and Joseph Flannery
By Ciara Quinn

A NEW defibrillator has been installed at Stewartstown Road’s popular Coffee House Bistro. And the life-saving equipment is now on the doorstep of the surrounding businesses and shops.

Owner of the Coffee House, Jim McIlwaine, explained how a medical emergency in the coffee shop on a busy Saturday lunchtime was the inspiration for the new addition.

“We, myself and the staff and my wife Mary who was working that day, didn’t know what was wrong, this young lad, Joel Forsythe,” recalled Jim. “He didn’t have any medical history, his family eat here all the time and he just slumped against the wall where he was sitting. We got him outside and when we rang the ambulance they asked us had we a defib onsite as it would be of help if he went into cardiac arrest. Unfortunately we didn’t have one but fortunately we didn’t need one on that occasion.

“After this incident we set out to ensure that this would not occur again. With advice and guidance from Jacqueline O’Neill, the Community Resuscitation Development Officer from the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service, it was decided to go for one mounted outside so as it could appear ‘live’ on the 999 emergency control centre.”

Jim and Mary said they wanted to thank the Stewartstown Road Regeneration Project (SRRP) for purchasing the defibrillator.

“There is a series of training courses coming up in August and all my staff will be trained,” explained Jim. “I went and did CPR training over in Holy Trinity and I walked out feeling so confident with what I learned.

“The staff from Kids Together are also coming onboard to learn CPR as well,” he said.

“It’s invaluable to have the defib here, it’s great to have it,” added Mary.

Joel’s mother Angela told the Andersonstown News that she was “delighted” to learn the defibrillator had been installed.

“We had all gone as a family to the Coffee House for lunch and Joel started to feel unwell,” she said.

“Owner Jim and his friend Gerard Feeley helped Joel and Gerard rang for an ambulance. He was asked was there a defib onsite, when they were told there wasn’t then the ambulance crew came out. I’m delighted that the defib has been fitted and both Joel and I will be taking part in the CPR training and on how to use a defibrillator at the dates coming up in August.”

CPR training will be held at the Stewartstown Road Regeneration Project office (above the Coffee House) on August 21 (daytime) or August 27 (evening). Places must be booked in advance. For more information contact John Hoey at

Please follow and like us: