Two lifesaving bleed control cabinets have been installed at Millwall FC by a man on a mission to get them everywhere after watching his dad bleed to death as a child.
Matt Lane, a property manager from Dartford, visited the ground on Saturday, November 4, with his son, eight-year-old Millwall fan, Teddy, to install the kits.
“Coincidentally, it was the same day Teddy was the Millwall mascot,” said the proud dad, “so we were able to do it before the game.”
They installed one cabinet at the Lewisham Lions Centre, one of the hubs for Millwall Community Trust and another inside Millwall’s ground, known as The Den.
It is all part of Matt’s campaign to get lifesaving equipment everywhere following a personal tragedy.
Now 44, Matt told us he was just twelve years old when his dad was attacked at their home in Dartford thirty years ago.
“I remember I opened the door to a group of men,” he told us, “They were stood there with a samurai sword, an axe and other weapons.
“He tried to stab me at first but Dad pushed me out of the way. They then dragged him out of the house and started stabbing him.”
He later found out that this was a result of an argument between neighbours that had nothing to do with his dad – but he was targeted because they thought he might have seen or heard the altercation.
Matt said they called the ambulance and police straightaway – but said he remembers the police taking a long time to arrive. “The paramedics arrived first but they couldn’t enter the scene without the police due to the nature of the attack.”
“I essentially watched him bleed to death for 45 minutes – whilst the ambulance was sat 100 metres away,” he recalled. “By the time they got there, my dad had 28 stab wounds.”
His dad tragically died later on in hospital aged 35.
Matt said as a child he didn’t look into it – but more recently was inspired to do something when he came across his dad’s post-mortem papers.
“I wanted to see how I could go about helping someone in the future – so I came across these kits and started buying them from this website and giving them out to places I thought could benefit from having them.”
Inside the kit – provided by Mere Supplies Ltd – is a selection of medical supplies to treat critical bleeding, which can be fatal in as little as three to five minutes. The kit can buy time before someone is able to get medical help.
“Even though this mission is inspired by my dad who was stabbed – these kits can be used for anything so I don’t call them ‘stab kits’. Someone might fall over, or have a car accident for instance.”
So far he’s installed about ten in his area and two in London. But he thought to reach out to Millwall Football Club after thinking stadiums would be a good place to have this sort of kit.
Elsewhere in Southwark, local campaigner Lisa Pearson has been trying to get bleed control cabinets installed since last year as a response to young people losing their lives to stabbings. So far, she has successfully managed to get three installed in the borough – in Peckham Rye Park, on Peckham High Street and East Dulwich Road.
Two Millwall players, Zian Flemming and George Saville joined them on the day of the unveiling of the cabinets – which are weatherproof and have a few kits inside.
When somebody dials 999 to report an incident, control staff direct the caller to the nearest kit and tell them, step-by-step, how to treat the victim.
Matt who also works as a fight inspector for UFC and Misfits Boxing, said he was recently able to raise some money after getting influencers such as Logan Paul, KSI, and Tommy Fury to sign a glove which he auctioned off for £1000.
“That paid for these cabinets – which cost around £400 each.”
His aim is to encourage companies to pay for them and keep raising money himself for those who can’t afford one themselves.
“My plan is to get TfL involved and get them on buses and trains – that way if there’s an incident people know that the next bus will have one on.”
He added that he wants to get one in Croydon on the road where the girl was killed recently.
Sean Daly, CEO of Millwall Community Trust said agreeing to install a lifesaving equipment was ‘a no-brainer.’
“We work very closely with the police and unfortunately there are a lot of incidents that happen that could benefit from something like this. But it’s not just for crime, it could be used for accidents as well.
“So installing it was a no-brainer for us. The good thing about it being on the outside of the building is that it’s open to the whole of the public.”
He added that they have already taken some steps to provide access to lifesaving equipment before now: “We had a defibrillator installed at Lewisham Lions about three years ago and it’s surprising how many times it’s been used already by the public.”
There is now one cabinet at the Lewisham Lions Centre and one at the Millwall FC ground.