AN appeal to buy lifesaving equipment has received overwhelming support after a much-loved grandad died suddenly in a Middlewich restaurant.

Dad-of-two Alan Barnes, 72, was enjoying a family meal at Il Padrino on Saturday evening when he suddenly became unwell.

“Tragically, despite the best efforts of our team, paramedics and a doctor, he could not be resuscitated,” said Claire Halluni, who runs the Italian restaurant with husband Alberto.

“Alan was a deeply loved husband, father and grandfather who is greatly missed by all who knew him.”

Just 24 hours after the tragedy, the local community rallied round and donated more than £3,000 towards a defibrillator.

The restaurant now plans to buy two devices for the town and place a plaque in loving memory to Alan above one outside the Wheelock Street restaurant.

“Saturday has shown us that the unthinkable can happen at anytime, anywhere,” said mum-of-three Claire.

“Should it happen in Middlewich again we want to be in the best position to help.

“We would hate for anyone to ever have to go through this experience but a defibrillator could be a game changer. It literally can save lives.”

A defibrillator gives a high energy shock to the heart of someone who is in cardiac arrest. With speedy emergency treatment, chances of survival can rise to 80 per cent.

Residents, families and businesses have teamed up to support the campaign.

“We cannot thank the local community enough,” said Claire. “The events of that evening have greatly affected ourselves and our team who played a vital role.

“We did all we could. The family was our absolute goal and priority.”

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Alan was sharing a meal with daughter Gina, her mum Klaasje Hutson, grandson Adam and girlfriend Emma Humphreys.

“Every individual member of staff played a huge part in supporting the family,” said Claire.

“Gina and her husband come to the restaurant a lot, they are such a lovely family.

“Their support to us has been incredible. They have thanked us for all that we did.

“We just want to make something negative into something positive. Every member of our staff will be first aid trained and we will be shown how to use a defibrillator.

“This will be a lasting legacy to Alan and could potentially save some lives.”

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