This Wearside pub has a new £1,400 defibrillator after cash for the device was raised in just FIVE DAYS

A Washington pub has raised £1,400 to buy a defibrillator to protect the local community, with a little help from Santa.

Tuesday, 13th April 2021, 9:12 am

Before Christmas the Cross Keys in Washington Village opened a grotto for Santa and his helpers.

The pub was closed by lockdown, but excited youngsters were able to look through the window and wave at Santa, while there was also a postbox for children to post their Christmas wishes.

Parents were asked to contribute money for the defibrillator and the target figure of £1,400 was reached in just five days.

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Kimberley Cheetham, general manager of the Cross Keys pub with the new defibrillator. Picture by Frank Reid.

The money was then handed over to Washington Forge Rotary Club, who have an ongoing campaign to install public access defibrillators. Another was recently installed at nearby St Joseph’s Primary School.

The latest version now hangs outside the Cross Keys, which is also supplying the electricity to the device, as well as being responsible for its weekly checks.

Kimberley Cheetham has been general manager of the pub since August 2020. She is grateful for the efforts of both the Washington and Washington Forge Rotary clubs.

She said: “We raised the money by having a grotto for Santa and some naughty elves. We raised it within five days. We just asked people to put their donations into buckets that the elves had.

The defibrillator cost £1,400 which was raised by the Cross Keys. Picture by Frank Reid.

“A great big thank you goes to everyone who contributed. I thought it might take a couple of months to raise the money, so to do it within such a short space of time is just fantastic.

"There’s a great community spirit here."

The pub has also raised another £850 with clothes donations. The clothes were weighed then sold to a charity, who will send them overseas to some of the world’s poorest people.

The money will be distributed to local charities by the Washington Rotary Club.

The Cross Keys plans to reopen on May 17. Picture by Frank Reid.

Kimberley added: “There are a lot of people I’d like to thank, but I’ll do it properly on May 19. We’re concentrating now on getting the pub open again on May 17.”

The Cross Keys is not among the Washington pubs opening for outdoor service on April 12. The bar is waiting for indoor service in pubs and restaurants to resume on May 17. On May 19 there will be an official ribbon cutting to reopen the pub, which has just been refurbished.

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General manager Kimberley Cheetham plans to reopen the Cross Keys on May 17. Picture by Frank Reid.