Sky Bet pledges to donate up to £3m to British Heart Foundation

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An inspiring line-up of footballers impacted by life-threatening heart conditions have joined forces to urge more than a quarter of a million people to learn life-saving CPR.

Luton Town captain Tom Lockyer joined former international stars Graeme Souness, David Ginola and Glenn Hoddle to unveil a ground-breaking new campaign – ‘Every Minute Matters’ – at Wembley Stadium.

Organised by Sky Bet and the British Heart Foundation (BHF), ‘Every Minute Matters’ aims to recruit 270,000 people – the equivalent of three Wembley’s – to learn life-saving CPR over the next 12 months.

Sky Bet has also pledged to donate up to £3 million to support the vital work of Britain’s biggest heart charity, starting with £10,000 for every goal scored during normal and extra time during the Sky Bet Play-Offs – which begin this Friday and end with three showpiece finals at England’s national stadium later this month.

Souness, Ginola, Hoddle and Lockyer are part of the ‘Re-Starting 11’ – a one-off team including Fabrice Muamba, Derby County defender Megan Tinsley and Wigan Athletic striker Charlie Wyke – who will share their own stories and give Brits the skills to tackle the ultimate medical emergency.

The ‘Re-Starting 11’ also features football fans who have either survived a cardiac arrest or saved someone’s life.

Souness, who was diagnosed with coronary heart disease in his early 30s, said: ‘CPR saves lives – and you only have to look at our Re-Starting 11 to see that. It’s a privilege to join a team of inspiring people, many who are only here today thanks to CPR, as we stand with Sky Bet and the British Heart Foundation to call on the nation to take action.

‘Every day, more than 80 people will suffer an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in the UK – and that’s why we need more people to learn CPR through RevivR.

‘Together we can equip thousands more fans with the knowledge and confidence to perform these lifesaving skills, because in the crucial moments following a cardiac arrest every minute really does matter.’

Lockyer, who collapsed during last year’s Sky Bet Championship Play-Off Final and survived a cardiac arrest in December, added: ‘I was lucky that in the moment when my heart stopped, those nearby knew the skills to save my life.

‘Without the prompt actions of the medical staff who gave me CPR and defibrillation, I simply wouldn’t be here today – and I’m forever grateful for that.