Legacy for a Legend is a named fund created in memory of Paul Thompson, who died suddenly of a rare cardiac condition during football training. Paul’s widow Nikki Rouse Thompson is fundraising for life-saving defibrillators to be installed across the county, and works with Oxfordshire Community Foundation to channel the funds.
Nikki Rouse Thompson had been happily married to Paul, a keen footballer and bassist in a band, for seven years, when he had a cardiac arrest at the local sports field. Despite the efforts of his team mates, Paul didn’t make it.
Nikki, a registered nurse, was left devastated and full of questions. What if help had arrived sooner? Neither a nearby first responder (who just happened to be carrying a defibrillator) nor the ambulance was able to get to Paul within the crucial first ten minutes after he collapsed. “I decided right away that I had to do something,” says Nikki. “Even before the funeral I needed to have something constructive to focus on.”
Along with Paul’s best friend Steve, Nikki had the idea of starting a charity that would fund defibrillators. Steve researched the options and found out that they could create a named fund with Oxfordshire Community Foundation. “It was perfect,” says Nikki. “Our friends and family wanted to donate money, but we didn’t know what we were doing. I felt the pressure of it all being a flop – plus it costs £3,000 to set up a registered charity, which was daunting. The community foundation gives us that personal service, which means we trust in their processes and governance – but we also get a lot of moral support for what we are doing.”
Nikki and the committee hold fundraising events in Paul’s memory, including black-tie balls, sponsored challenges and a ‘Play for Paul’ gig. Nearly £7,000 has been raised so far.
Legacy for a Legend has deployed four defibrillators in rural communities where coverage was non-existent, with eight more in the pipeline. Nikki and Steve have received support from supplier WEL Medical, who is giving them bulk discounts on the machines.
“We want Paul’s memory to live on through this work,” says Nikki. “I hope the younger family members will get involved too. I just wanted to do it for Paul.”
“The community foundation gives us that personal service, which means we trust in their processes and governance – but we also get a lot of moral support for what we are doing.”
Nikki Rouse Thompson
Legacy for a Legend
- In-memoriam ‘charity-in-a-box’ funding life-saving defibrillators in sports and community venues
- Awareness-raising of the dangers of undetected heart conditions
- First aid and defibrillator training for sports and community groups
- Simple, cost-effective and quick way to set up a mechanism for donations in memory of a loved one
- Emotional and moral support from a team who know about the charity sector and take away the hassle