The Head of Marks and Spencer in Northern Ireland, Ryan Lemon, has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to install defibrillators in all of their stores in the Province and in the Isle of Man.
The campaign was launched following the sudden death of one of the company’s employees, Lisburn man Matthew Thompson, who collapsed on the Lagan Towpath on June 11 whilst out jogging.
Taking the lead from Matthew’s wife Lauren, who has also begun a fundraising drive to raise money to buy a defibrillator for the tow path, Ryan aims to raise £12,500 to buy nineteen devices.
Marks and Spencer as a corporate entity have also pledged to donate £12,500 towards the worthy cause.
“Our colleague and friend Matthew Thompson was suddenly taken from us on June 11 by an undiagnosed heart condition,” explained Ryan. “Matthew was only 39.
“Matthew worked for M&S for sixteen years and was most recently the Commercial Manager in Newtownbreda, running a very successful food business.
“Matthew was previously the Store Manager of Upper Newtownards Road and Armagh, as well as completing a number of managerial roles in Lisburn.
“Matthew met his true love Lauren while working together in M&S. Lauren our Regional Visual Manager has inspired us to do something good from this terrible tragedy.
“Matthew’s personality was as infectious inside of work as it was outside, his wicked charm, humour and personality would always brighten up a room. He was always first and last in with a pun. Matthew always left you with a smile.
“In honour of Matthew’s memory we want to install a defibrillator in every M&S Store in Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man. We will also train first responders in every store.”
The crowdfunding page, which can be found at crowdfunding.justgiving.com/MatthewThompsonDefibSavingLives, has already raised over £3,000 and Lauren, whose page can be found at crowdfunding.justgiving.com/MatthewThompson39forever, has also raised over £4,600, well in excess of the £1,500 goal.
“We have got to get something good to come out of this absolute tragedy so please help us to purchase a defibrillator that we can put on the towpath where Matthew died so as we can maybe prevent some other family from going through this devastation,” added Lauren.