Volunteer Awards

Excellent news.

Gwent Defibbers support group was nominated for a volunteer award and I am very pleased to announce that we have come runner up in the ‘Volunteer of the Year Awards 2017’ thanks to Wales Council for Voluntary Action.



Gwent Defibbers (Tredegar)

A support group for cardiac arrest survivors and their families has been ‘monumental’ in helping its 90-plus members come to terms with living with the condition.

The ‘Gwent Defibbers’ group was set up in 2009 by Mike Morgan – who suffered a cardiac arrest many years ago – and Sandra Davies, whose husband is also a survivor.  Also involved in the group are Mike’s wife Lynne, Sandra’s husband Jeff, and Liz, who looks after the website.

‘People who have Cardiac Arrest (CA) have a high risk of experiencing another and are offered an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) – a matchbox-sized device implanted into the chest with lead(s) implanted into the heart,’ said Mandie Welch of Cardiff and Vale University Health Board.

‘This device can save your life by delivering an electric shock directly to the heart, these shocks can be very painful, and living with this device is known to cause anxiety and depression. Gwent Defibbers has been monumental in helping others come to terms with living with their ICD.’

The group runs a buddy system, where patients have the opportunity to discuss their ICD implant with others who have a device, it has raised funds for defibrillators in public places and has a website offering up to date information for all aspects of living with an ICD.

‘All of this is done on a voluntary basis – the arranging of meetings, venues and speakers is a huge task to take on, but they both do it regardless.’ Mandie Welch added.  ‘Mike has recently been diagnosed with severe heart failure, as has Sandra’s husband Jeff, yet they continue to provide their ongoing support to others who need it.  They are both inspirational and deserve to be recognised for their ongoing support and hard work.’

Thank you

UPDATE (July 2017)

Hello all

I hope you are well. Congratulations again on your well-deserved achievement in the Wales Volunteer of the Year Awards 2017.

The photos from the event can be viewed here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0Byn-qQ5OjAnqWVZzLVBUYzJZOFE

I have pleasure in attaching an image that you are welcome to use on your e-mail and other correspondence which highlights your amazing achievement. If you have any questions about its use, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Best wishes and congratulations once again.


Kate Gobir 
Swyddog Cymorth Digwyddiadau a Phartneriaethau / Events & Partnerships Support Officer
Cyngor Gweithredu Gwirfoddol Cymru / Wales Council for Voluntary Action

WCVA Volunteer of the Year 2017

WCVA Volunteer of the Year 2017

WCVA Volunteer of the Year 2017


12 young people!!!

Just have to share this…

The video helps raise awareness of cardiac risk in the young and is very informative.

Remember….. any questions ask your GP, ICD nurse specialist or you can contact CRY at

Cardiac Risk in the Young

A charity offering help, support & counselling to affected families.

Head Office:

Unit 1140B,

The Axis Centre,

Cleeve Road,


Surrey KT227RD

Tel:- (01737) 363222

Fax:- (01737) 363444

email:- cry@c-r-y.org.uk

Registered charity number: 1050845



Welcome / Information pack

Finally the welcome / information pack  which has been designed by the group is now complete.

This pack will be offered via ICD nurses, cardiac wards and clinics to those individuals who will be receiving an ICD and contains amongst other things useful email addresses, links and phone numbers.

To view item more clearly please double click and item will enlarge.



Guidelines following ICD insertion


About cardiac rehab classes


About the group


Remember…. the information obtained here is relevant to those in the Gwent / Glamorgan area. If in doubt about any information or referrals please speak with your own medical / nurse team.

We thank Mike, Sandra and Deb as well as the cardiac nurses who assisted in team to complete this task.


Annual Report 2011 – 12

2011-12 has been a really busy year for the Gwent Defibbers.

In July 2011 the group had received a grant from Big Lottery Awards for All Wales of £1,727.00.  This was to help towards set up costs.

The grant paid for a Laptop, publication of contact cards for patients to become members of the group, transport costs, administration costs, hire of venues, a visit to meet another ICD group Restart in Swansea and to pay towards refreshments which have been provided by Lynne Morgan at each meeting.

I would like to take this opportunity of thanking Lynne on behalf of the Committee and members for her continued support, and beautiful cakes.

The group were very fortunate in securing donations from the following:

Gemtime Jewellers who sponsored the Committee polo shirts.

Tucan who gave a donation of £100.

Miss Harries gave a donation of £10.

The group received a grant of £100 from Caerphilly county borough council.

As Chairman of the Gwent Defibbers I would like to take this opportunity of thanking everyone for their kind donations over the last year.

It is very much appreciated.

The group were also successful in securing a Communities First Grant to purchase 2 AED’s to be placed within the Town of Tredegar.

The grant of £2,000 was towards AED’s and training.  The Ambulance Service trainer provided the free training and the event was supported by Communities First and a big thank you goes to Sarah James from the Communities First team based at Tredegar for her support organising the training events.

After the initial launch of the AED and the training there has been another two training sessions for the general public where over 50 people have now been trained to use an AED.

This came in handy a week after the initial training course as there as an incident in Tredegar, one of the people had been trained was able to respond.  The group are currently trying to raise the awareness of having AED’s alongside First Aid Boxes, and First Aiders trained to use the AED’s with confidence.

Our website is kept updated by one of our members Liz so any additional information you would like to find out, please log onto https://gwentdefibbers.wordpress.com .  I would like to thank Liz for her input over the past year and hopefully in the future for the Gwent Defibbers.  Liz also informed us that there had been an increase on the number of ‘hits’ onto our website after Fabrice Mumba had his incident with Bolton FC.

This incident has raised the importance of raising the profile of ICD’s.

Also recently Jeff Davies (Sandra’s husband) was interviewed by the South Wales Echo who wanted to do an article on ICD’s. Due to the number of ICD’s being fitted it felt appropriate to raise the profile of the device as well as promoting the support the group can give.  The article has yet to be published, but the group feels it would be helpful for hospitals fitting ICD’s to show new patients how the device can help.

During the year the Committee members have been invited to attend a number of event to inform the general public about the group and arrhythmia.

Myself and Sandra (Secretary) spent the day at Blackwood Sainsbury’s Store with a display and distributing leaflets to local residents about Arrhythmia during Arrhythmia Awareness Week.

The committee were invited to attend a South Wales Ambulance Awareness Raising Session in Pontypool.  It gave the committee an opportunity to ask questions about the medical service being provided to patients with ICD’s.  Our findings were reported back to members.

Restart Visit: Members were invited to join another ICD group based at Morriston Hospital in Swansea.  Seven members of the group attended the meeting, which was held at Morriston Hospital.  The order of the meeting was similar to Gwent Defibbers meeting, where a guest speaker gave a presentation – on this occasion it was a physiotherapist talking about exercise.  There was also a discussion about ID Tags.

The committee meet on a regular basis – and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Secretary Sandra Davies and our Treasurer Deb Cooper for all their hard work over the past year.

Our Guest Speakers have been varied – this year we have had the Lama Rabsan to speak to us about relaxation techniques, Sue Arnold from Expert Patients Programme, Andy Penney from UHW who checks ICD’s, Dawn Watkins, Arrhythmia Nurse to raise awareness of different areas of our condition.

We as a committee, are always looking for ideas for speakers, and are now looking at putting a suggestion box for members to tell us what topics they would like to discuss or know more about.  To date it has been suggested to invite:

–       ICD manufacturer

–       Pharmacist

–       Dietician

–       Physiotherapist

–       Relaxation Techniques


The group have recently moved venue from Llanfoist Village Hall, which was on the outskirts of Abergavenny into a more central venue in Abergavenny town itself.  This was decided after discussions on cost and location and ease of getting to the venue for our meetings. As Chairman I would like to thank the Committee of the Abergavenny OAP for their help and support.


During the remainder of 2012 and into 2013, we hope that we can interest a few more members onto the Committee.  This would help to give ideas for the future of the group.

Mike Morgan


Inspiring story

I came across this story while I was visiting various sites on the web. I think it’s lovely and deserves to be shared.

The author is anonymous…..

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room’s only window. The other man had to spend his time flat on his back. The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, jobs, military service and where they had spent family holidays.

Every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up  he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see out of the window.

The man in the other bed began to live for those one hour periods where his world could be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and colour of the world outside.

The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every colour of the rainbow. Grand old trees graced the landscape, and a fine view of the city could be seen in the distance.

As the man by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene.

One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passing by. Although the other man couldn’t hear the band he could see it in his mind’s eye as the man by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.

Days and weeks passed.

One morning the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window who had died peacefully in his sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to remove the body.

As soon as it seemed appropriate the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch and after making sure he was comfortable she left him alone.

Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take a look at the world outside. Finally he would have the joy of seeing it all for himself. He strained to slowly turn to look out of the window.

It faced a blank wall!

The man asked the nurse what would have compelled his deceased roommate to describe such wonderful things outside the window.

The nurse responded, “he was blind and could not even see the wall”.

She said,”perhaps he just wanted to encourage you”.