BROMSGROVE Sporting manager Paul Smith has been left overwhelmed by the support for his campaign to raise £1,500 to buy life-saving defibrillators for non-league clubs.

Sporting boss Smith launched the campaign yesterday after reading the story of Alvechurch FC fan Rick Edwards, whose life was saved by a defib after he suffered a cardiac arrest.

Alvechurch purchased the defibrillator just months prior to Rick’s collapse at Lye Meadow Ground on December 23, but many non-league clubs are without the life-saving device.

And less than 24 hours into his campaign, Paul has already raised 90 per cent of his fundraising target – with donations flooding in from across the country.

Mr Smith said: “I was just reading an article about the Alvechurch fan collapsing.

“My phone was next to me and it started buzzing at the same time telling me that Liverpool had agreed a fee for a player for £75 million.

“It just hit home really and I thought it was ridiculous.

“The money is at the top end of the game but there are lower league clubs who have not got the cash to afford a defibrillator.

“I know Rick from my time at Alvechurch. He died three times before the air ambulance arrived.

“I did not think me helping would make that much of a difference but raising enough money to get just one defibrillator for a club – and raise awareness – is why I wanted to do it.

“Luckily through brilliant support and help from the footballing community we have up to £1,400 from the last check.

“We should be able to get three or four defibrillators and send them to clubs that need them.”

Smith’s fundraising campaign has even received support from footballer Tyrone Mings, of Premier League side Bournemouth, who donated £250.

Smith added: “There has been support and donations from up and down the country and it is tremendous to see.

“The fact that Tyrone has donated is great but it means just as much to have people donating two and three pounds as well.

“They are all as important as each other as those people have taken the time to donate.”

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