Dalkeith club buys life-saving defib kit

Players Leon Stewart, eight, captain Jake Beveridge, 14, and Mattie Beatie, 14, are joined by Phil Menzies, whose firm donated money for one of the defibrillators. Picture: Toby Williams

Players Leon Stewart, eight, captain Jake Beveridge, 14, and Mattie Beatie, 14, are joined by Phil Menzies, whose firm donated money for one of the defibrillators. Picture: Toby Williams

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HUNDREDS of footballers are in safer hands after their club invested in two life-saving defibrillators.

Dalkeith Miners CYP bought the heart-starting devices in the wake of the tragic death of 13-year-old Jamie Skinner.

He suffered a cardiac arrest on the pitch at Saughton while playing for Tynecastle just before Christmas.

The Evening News then joined forces with a charity set up in his name – The Jamie Skinner Foundation – in a bid to get defibrillators into sports clubs across the Lothians.

Since we launched the Shockingly Easy campaign, £12,000 has been donated, including from Scotmid Co-operative, which is dishing out £250 funding to 11 sports clubs.

Dalkeith’s defibrillators – to be based at training pitch Waterfall Park and match ground Cowden Pavilion – will also be available for wider community use.

Coach Ronnie Stuart said the club had first considered buying the devices early last year, but had been prompted to move quicker after Jamie’s death.

All the coaches across the 18 teams have now been trained to make sure they are comfortable using the equipment in an emergency.

Mr Stuart said: “It was something we wanted to look into last year, even before the incident at Tynecastle.

“But once that happened, we realised just how vital it was the club get a defibrillator as soon as possible.

“We’ve enrolled all of our coaches and assistant coaches in a new first-aid course that has taught them how the ­defibrillators work.

“We also invited parents and grandparents involved in the club to take part, so that we could ensure there were two or three adults affiliated with each team that could become certified.

“That way, if the head coach or his assistant were ever absent for whatever reason when an incident occurred, there would at least be one ­person on hand that would know exactly what to do.

“Now, we’ve got about 40 people that have become ­certified first-aiders through the course.”

The club, which has 200 players on its books, raised more than £1200 at a charity night – enough to pay for one defibrillator – before sponsor Menco Environmental Services topped up the fund.

Phil Menzies, the firm’s owner, said: “The tragic death of Jamie Skinner showed that having a defibrillator on hand could make all the difference.

“But these clubs can’t do it all on their own, and so hopefully other local businesses will step up to support this campaign to invest in these defibrillators and give our ­communities a little more peace of mind.”

Yesterday’s Evening News told how big-hearted Robert Hay, 85, from Longniddry, had donated £2000 in a huge boost to the campaign. Jamie was making his debut for Tynecastle when he collapsed suddenly on December 22 last year. Amid the panic which followed, a defibrillator which was on site at Saughton was not used.

IN MEMORY

THE News has joined the family of Jamie Skinner in launching the Shockingly Easy campaign. We hope to ensure there is a life-saving defibrillator in every sports centre in the Lothians. Here’s how to help:

• Make a donation or fundraise for a defibrillator

Cheques payable to The Jamie Skinner Foundation can be sent to Shockingly Easy, The Edinburgh Evening News, Orchard Brae House, 30 Queensferry Road, EH4 2HS.

• Volunteer to take a defibrillator course at your sports club

• Learn CPR skills

If you can help, e-mail savealife@edinburghnews.com

Clubs involved so far:

• Easthouses FC

• Edinburgh South FC

• Kirkliston & South Queensferry FC

• Lauriston Thistle FC

• Leith Athletic FC

• Loanhead Miners Youth FC

• Sighthill Bowling Club

• Silverknowes Golf Club