A mum’s heartbreaking loss of her son has inspired her to teach children about how dangerous one punch can be.
Talented footballer Connor Saunders tragically died in April 2012 when he suffered cardiac arrest on a night out after being punched.
In the wake of his death his mother Darran and sister Courtney set up a foundation in his name to donate defibrillators to football clubs and schools – including on Tuesday at Springfield Infant School in Worthing.
Darran Saunders, 53, who lives in Brighton, said: “We believe something good had to come from something so bad.
“As a family we knew what it was like to live without a loved one and it is so preventable.”
Before he died his mother said Connor had been shocked when he saw Premier League footballer Fabrice Muamba collapse on the pitch with a sudden cardiac arrest.
This inspired him to promote safety and he was planning to raise funds for a defibrillator at Peacehaven Football Club when he died.
Since the Connor Saunders Foundation was set up, Darran and Courtney have donated 64 defibrillators to schools and clubs in the area, training staff on how to save lives.
Darran said: “Children get quite upset when they hear Connor’s story, but I believe that it should be heard.
“Our message is always one of using your hands to do kindness and not hurt someone.”
Becky Wycherley, head teacher of Springfield Infant School, said: “We were pleased Mrs Saunders and her daughter Courtney were able to deliver an emotional but positive assembly to our year two children.
“Mrs Saunders spoke very sensitively to the children and showed a video of Connor growing up accompanied by his favourite music ‘You’ve got a friend in me’.
“Springfield is delighted to announce that they are now a ‘HeartSafe’ School thanks to The Conner Saunders Foundation donating a defibrillator.
“All the staff and children were inspired by the commitment from Connors family to save lives.
“This is something we have wanted to do for a while now.
“To be able to offer to our staff, children, parents and local community peace of mind knowing that, should anyone ever need it, we have a defibrillator in our school.
“We are very grateful to The Connor Saunders Foundation for their generous donation.”