Dobbies backs defibrillator charity

Karen Greechan with Jens Voights and Richard Bowker, right, from the Criterium Cycle Company. Picture: Greg Macvean

Karen Greechan with Jens Voights and Richard Bowker, right, from the Criterium Cycle Company. Picture: Greg Macvean

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A MAJOR garden centre has become the first organisation to pick the Jamie Skinner Foundation (JSF) as its official charity partner.

Despite having its pick of the bunch, Dobbies Edinburgh, in Lasswade, pledged to fundraise all year for the JSF to help the charity reach its goal of installing defibrillators in every sports centre in the Lothians.

We are absolutely delighted. I couldn’t believe it when I found out – I almost started crying.”

Karen Greechan

As one of the UK’s largest garden store chains – with 35 branches nationwide – Dobbies raised more than £350,000 for its charity partners in the last financial year.

The Skinner family said they were “over the moon” at the news, which they hope will allow them to help more clubs in memory of 13-year-old footballer Jamie, who suffered a fatal cardiac arrest while making his debut for Tynecastle FC in December 2013.

If the medical equipment is used within five minutes of a cardiac arrest, and alongside CPR, then the chance of survival rises to nearly 75 per cent.

Jamie’s cousin Karen Greechan, who helps to run the charity, said: “We are 
absolutely delighted. I couldn’t believe it when I found out – I almost started crying.

“Last year they raised thousands of pounds for their chosen charity. We will have collection tins in all the stores and they are going to be doing lots of events for us. It’s just unbelievable.”

The partnership was kicked off by a £500 donation to the JSF raised at an event last week featuring Tour de France cyclist Jens Voigt, which was hosted by Criterium Cycles, in Dobbies’ retail village.

Jayne Kirkpatrick, community champion at Dobbies Edinburgh, said the store had been impressed by the charity’s work.

She said: “The Jamie Skinner Foundation struck me as a charity our customers would really get behind and the family’s proactive approach to turn their tragedy into something positive for the wider community was really inspiring.

“People remember Jamie’s story, and if we can support the Foundation so measures are put in place for this to not happen again we’d be very 
proud.”

Jamie’s family teamed up with the Evening News for our Shockingly Easy campaign in July, which has already raised enough to buy 18 heart-start machines.

The announcement from Dobbies follows the decision by city chiefs last week to install defibrillators in each of the Capital’s 23 high schools.

lizzy.buchan@edinburghnews.com