THOUSANDS of young footballers are now protected if they collapse on the pitch thanks to the efforts of a determined schoolboy.
Oscar Jones kicked off a lifesaving campaign after watching Denmark midfielder Christian Eriksen suffer a cardiac arrest during a football match against Finland in the Euro 2020 championship.
The professional footballer is only alive today after medics used a defibrillator on the pitch to save his life.
The seven-year-old Man Utd fan wanted to buy a similar lifesaving machine for his Cuddington Sandiway football team in Northwich.
In two days he raised £4,500 and quadrupled his initial target.
The Cuddington Primary School pupil ran one mile a day for 26 days and collected £8,000 plus £5,500 grant from London Hearts.
Altogether, with further donations from local teams, £17,000 was raised to fund an incredible 17 defibrillators.
A defibrillator is a device that restores normal heartbeat by sending an electrical pulse or shock to the heart.
Dad Ben, who coaches the under sevens with Alec Williams and Johnnie Kane, said: “For a seven-year-old to do something like this is phenomenal.
“Every team in Cuddington and Sandiway from under sevens to under 17s will now have a defibrillator.
“It doesn’t just protect the players as every week our teams have a few thousand people watching our matches including parents, grandparents, referees and officials.
“Six teams can be playing at our venue at any one time.
“Oscar has made us very proud and he still doesn’t understand the s cale of what he has achieved.”
Oscar, who has been playing football since he was three, was featured on BBC Breakfast and several Danish newspaper.
“We want to say a massive thanks to everyone for their support,” said Ben. “We have had a lot of engagement from the village.
“Cuddington and Sandiway have spurred Oscar on along the way, cheering him and beeping horns.
“On the Sunday he completed his marathon 100 people turned out to clap him. It was amazing.
“We hope we never have to touch these defibs but they are there now if we ever need them.”
Oscar has won much acclaim on social media.
Eithne Curbishley said: “Fantastic achievement young man. Your parents must be bursting with pride as we your community are.”
Bonita Wakelin added: “Well done Oscar, not all wear capes. Thank you for being such a caring young man.”
Sara Jayne Hilton said: “My son plays for Cuddington under 16s. We had the pleasure of meeting this amazing young man. What an absolute superstar. One day he will know the magnitude of his actions and how grateful all our teams are for his amazing fundraising.”
Ian Handley said: “Fantastic achievement, well done, wee man.”
Juliet Halstead added: “You are truly amazing, Oscar. This could really make a massive difference.”