The dad of a 12-year-old Liverpool boy who died following a sudden cardiac arrest has sent an open letter to Boris Johnson appealing for lifesaving defibrillators to be installed in schools across the UK.

Mark King, whose son Oliver died during a PE lesson, said that "Christian Eriksen was lucky" but his son was not.

After starting the Oliver King Foundation in 2012, Mark has been campaigning for defibrillators in schools to be a legal requirement.

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In an open letter to Boris Johnson, Mark is now highlighting the case of footballer Christian Eriksen who it is believed was saved due to the availability of a defibrillator after he collapsed while playing in the Denmark v Finland Euro 2020 match on Saturday.

Mark said: "Tragically there was no life saving defibrillator on hand for Oliver and for every minute that passed his chance of survival dropped significantly.

"I don’t want any parent going through what we’ve experienced but this hidden condition will affect 12 young people every week in the UK right now.

"It really would not take much for the government to legislate for defibrillators to be installed in all schools. We’re not giving up this fight. I’m calling on the Prime Minister to take urgent action."

Oliver King was 12 when he died while taking part in a swimming race during a PE lesson at King David High School in Childwall.

Jamie Carragher with Mark King
Jamie Carragher with Mark King

He suffered a sudden cardiac arrest due to a condition known as Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS).

Mark has issued his public letter to Boris Johnson in the hopes that the government legislate for defibrillators to be installed in schools.

In his letter to the Prime Minister he said: "The world was shocked by the distressing scenes of Christian Eriksen collapsing on the pitch during the Denmark v Finland match on Saturday.

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"Fortunately, the swift action of his teammates, world-class medical staff, and critically the availability of a defibrillator saved his life.

"Christian Eriksen, who is now stable in hospital, was lucky. My son was not.

"Oliver was 12 years old when he died of Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS) on March 2, 2011.

"He suffered a cardiac arrest while taking part in a swimming race. My son was a brilliant boy who excelled in school and was phenomenal at sports. This hidden heart condition took him from us."

"SADS kills 12 young people every week and yet astonishingly lifesaving defibrillators are not mandatory in all schools.

"Since Oliver’s death, my family and I have put all of our might into raising awareness of SADS through The Oliver King Foundation. We have lobbied the government to legislate for lifesaving defibrillators to be installed in all schools across our nation. I have even met you myself in Parliament to highlight the urgent need for legislation.

"Currently the Department for Education only recommends that all schools have access to lifesaving defibrillators. This simply does not go far enough and Chistian Eriksen’s case unequivocally serves as a reminder of how important the availability of life-saving defibrillators are.

"Our campaign has received significant support from MPs of all parties and as an organisation we have placed 5,500 defibrillators in schools and organisations across the UK, and have trained over 100,000 people in CPR and the use of defibrillators.

"Our work has saved 56 lives to date and increases each week.

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"However, the lives of young people will continue to be put at risk until you legislate to make defibrillators a mandatory part of school life. Without your intervention, many more young people face unnecessary death. They will not be given the same chance as Christian Eriksen.

“Oliver should have been celebrating his 22nd birthday this year and we are still fighting every day for a change in the law.

“He died needlessly but you can stop any more children being consigned to the same fate by realising Oliver’s heart-breaking death was very avoidable - if only the right equipment was there to save him.

“Prime Minister, we are asking you to hear us and work with us to secure legislation to introduce defibrillators in all schools. It is time for action.”