Defibs for Dover team: Sam Hammond, Jan Hyde and Clare Sykes


Award nomination for inspirational Dover group

To be able to say that you are responsible for saving just one person’s life is something that most of us will never be in a position to do. But a dynamic team in Dover has set up a community group that has already saved at least one life, and is destined to save many more.

The team has been nominated for a Kent Mental Wellbeing Award in recognition of their hard work in the town.

Defibs for Dover was set up in 2021 by local residents Clare Sykes, Samantha Hammond and wife-and-husband team Jan and Tim Hyde of Royal Mail.

Members of the group had noticed that the telephone box at a local recreation ground had fallen into disrepair and thought that it would be a good place to put a defibrillator. They all connected on social media, sharing their ideas for the box. The team hasn’t looked back since.

With the generous help of local schools, many of which have held non-uniform days, and by organising fundraising events of all shapes and sizes with the help of local business people and companies, the group has managed to place defibrillators across the Dover community and now has guardianship of ten in total. Most of these have been installed by local electrician Richard from RS Electricals, based in Deal, who has installed them free of charge.

Each defibrillator has been added onto “The Circuit” – the national network which provides NHS ambulance services with vital information about defibrillators across the UK so that in those crucial moments after a cardiac arrest, they can be accessed quickly to help save lives.

On top of their fundraising activities, the inspirational team also offer free CPR and defibrillator training to local residents.

Both Clare and Jan work for the NHS and have direct experience of how vital a defibrillator can be in saving a person’s life. They are currently setting their sights on placing as many public access defibrillators in Dover as resources will allow, and would one day love to see a defibrillator on every street corner in the town. They are also keen to link to neighbouring towns to encourage them to increase their defibrillator provision.

The group would like to work with schools that already have defibrillators to help them source secure boxes and relocate their defibrillators outside the school grounds. This would enable both the schools and the local community have the reassurance that this lifesaving piece of equipment is available to all 24/7.

Jan said: “To date, we know that one of our defibrillators has saved the life of a local man. More lives may well have been saved, but for reasons of privacy we are unlikely ever to know how often our defibrillators have been instrumental in saving a person’s life. We are thrilled to have made a difference to this gentleman’s life, and hope to enable successful outcomes for other people in the area who suffer a cardiac episode.”

Clare added: “It has been wonderful working with so many people in the community to raise money for the defibrillators. People give of their time so generously, and we are very grateful for their continued support.”

Simon Dolby, Fundraising and Development Lead at East Kent Mind, and organiser of the Kent Mental Wellbeing Awards, said: “The difference this small group of incredibly motivated and caring people is making through sheer hard work is not to be underestimated. They are saving lives and providing crucial back-up to the community. Their award nomination is richly deserved.”

Nominations for the Kent Mental Wellbeing Awards can be linked to a simple act of kindness that lifted the spirits, a business that has improved staff wellbeing, through to a targeted initiative delivered by a charity, community group or statutory organisation to support a mental wellbeing issue.

The event is sponsored by Kent County Council, Kent Community Foundation, ADM Computing, GrainLNG – National Grid, Medway Council, Optyma Security, Wave Community Bank, Cactus Graphics and CommunityAid.

Submit nominations at For awards news follow @KentMWAwards on Facebook and X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.