The family of Ahoghill man, Steven Lowry, who collapsed and died after training have donated eight defibrillators in his memory to local groups.
Steven took ill shortly after finishing training with Ahoghill Rovers and despite desperate attempts to save him, the 27-year-old died as a result of a sudden heart attack.
His devastated family launched a fundraising drive in Steven’s memory and have donated eight defibrillators to teams and community groups throughout the Ballymena area.
Each costs more than £1,100 plus the costs of installation and training.
Steven’s mother Karen hopes the equipment will prevent other families going through what they have.
She said: “We set up a trust in Steven’s name with the intention of buying defibrillators for the local community. Steven was fit and otherwise healthy. He played golf, he loved football – he played for Ahoghill Rovers since he was 16 and he was captain when he died. He just loved the club and the sport.”
Volunteers have been trained in the use of the defibrillators which have been stationed in areas popular with sports teams and community groups. Each defibrillator is accompanied by a plaque in memorial to Steven.
“People have been so good to us and generous,” Mrs Lowry added. “Steven worked in the computer department at the Ulster Hospital and his friends there set up a website for donations.
“The defibs are for all of the community, not just football teams. Any groups which use the various facilities can make use of this equipment if they ever need to. We hope they never do. Hopefully even more can be raised to help install more in the future.”
Among those to receive the specialist equipment were Steven’s club Ahoghill Rovers and their village footballing rivals, Ahoghill Thistle.
Thistle’s manager, local councillor, Stewart McDonald added: “The family have been brilliant and I think there may be more to come in terms of fundraising. Steven was a lovely fella and this equipment will be a fitting memorial to him.”
The teams and groups who received a defibrilator from the Steven Lowry Fund were Ahoghill Rovers, Coaching for Christ Ahoghill and Ahoghill Thistle Fc. Others have been provided at Ahoghill community centre and the Coaching for Christ centre in the village. The fund has also donated equipment to Broughshane community centre, Galgorm community centre and Wakehurst playing area.
Free training on how to use the equipment has also been provided.