A crowdfunding campaign to buy and install life-saving defibrillators at non-league clubs has been met with an extraordinarily positive response.

The fundraiser launched at the end of December on JustGiving by Bromsgrove Sporting manager Paul Smith, who has been in charge of the Worcestershire-based side since 2014.

When the crowdfunding page was set up, the target was originally to raise £1,500, but after just a day 90% of the total had already been reached.

At the time of publication, £2,285 has been donated by 125 supporters, earning more than 50% of the original target.

The noble cause has even reached the attention of Premier League player Tyrone Mings - the Bournemouth defender donated £250 to the appeal.

The appeal was launched after the worst kind of Christmas surprise

On Saturday, December 23, minutes before the start of Alvechurch FC's match against Gresley, a home fan had a cardiac arrest and was technically 'dead'.

Rick Edwards' heart stopped three times, but thanks to the quick thinking of the club's physio and other fans, he survived his ordeal.

Luckily for the Alvechurch fan, there is a defibrillator in place at their Lye Meadow home, which was only installed a few months prior to the incident which occurred on the day before Christmas Eve.

But having one of these incredible devices on hand is something of a rarity in non-league football meaning that if Mr Edwards' cardiac arrest had taken place at a different stadium, he may not have had access to the defibrillator and could have died.

Speaking to the Bromsgrove Advertiser, his daughter Sam said: "It shows the importance of defibrillators at football grounds.

"A lot of the lower-league teams do not have them, but that is something that needs to change. If that defibrillator was not there, my dad would not be alive today.


A lack of balance of money in football?

Paul Smith used to be the manager of Alvechurch FC, and when he was reading about the fan of his former club's plight, he could not help but think of the "ridiculous" difference between money at the top and in lower league football.

Now boss of Bromsgrove Sporting FC in the Midland League Premier Division, the ninth tier of the English football pyramid, he said to Worcester News: "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 (Virgil van Dijk) for £75m.

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

Brazilian Philippe Coutinho moved to Barcelona this week for a fee double the size, and yet most non-league clubs cannot even afford to have a piece of equipment vital to saving lives.

Mr Smith is delighted at the response to his crowdfunding efforts and hopes that the money can be put to good use by providing cash-strapped clubs with the vital machines.

"I did not think me helping would make that much of a difference. We should be able to get three or four defibrillators and send them to clubs that need them."

Donations to the fund can be made at https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/paul-smith-655