Ex-footballer boosts team safety with defibrillator

Coaches and players at Kirkliston and South Queensferry Football Club proudly show off the defibrillator. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Coaches and players at Kirkliston and South Queensferry Football Club proudly show off the defibrillator. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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A FORMER footballer has secured the safety of young players by providing a lifesaving defibrillator for a city club.

One of the first organisations to get on board with the Evening News’ Shockingly Easy campaign was Kirkliston and South Queensferry Football Club (KSQFC), who recognised the need for the vital medical equipment at their Allison Park training ground.

The club – which has more than 250 youngsters on its books – had been fundraising for a defibrillator since the tragic death of 13-year-old footballer Jamie Skinner, who suffered a fatal cardiac arrest while making his debut for Tynecastle FC in December 2013.

Inspired by the campaign, former Dunfermline Athletic player Sean Black decided to donate a defibrillator to the football club.

Mr Black, managing director of Lindemann Healthcare, which runs care homes in Murrayfield, Juniper Green and Colinton, said: “I have played football for the last 25 years so this is a cause close to my heart.

“When I was a young lad I remember things happening – like what happened to Jamie Skinner – and I know now that my mum and dad were always worried.”

Mr Black, from Currie, said: “As a family we have always been aware of the risk and I know a defibrillator can mean the difference between somebody making it and them not making it.”

The generous donor shelled out for a defib for the club – normally worth around £1500.

Backing the campaign, Mr Black added: “This is such a worthwhile cause.

“Hopefully the defibrillator will never get used but I would rather it was there and never needed.

“I work in care of the elderly and all our staff know how to use a defibrillator, as it can make a huge difference to someone suffering from a cardiac arrest.”

The life-saving device will travel with the KSQFC teams to their games, and the club has pledged it will be available to the community in a pavilion at the club ground.

Mark Richardson, KSQFC secretary, said: “One day Sean Black phoned up and said he had read the story in the Evening News and wanted to help. Not many clubs can afford to buy something like this, so as a club we are very appreciative of what they have done.”

He said the club would donate any remaining funds to the Jamie Skinner Foundation, which was set up by Jamie’s family in the wake of his tragic death.

The Evening News has joined forces with the Foundation to launch the Shockingly Easy campaign, which aims to ensure all sports clubs in the Lothians have a defibrillator.

Since the launch in July the campaign has raised enough to buy 18 devices and there is funding available for interested clubs.

Please contact Lizzy Buchan at savealife@edinburghnews.com.

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 Lothian sports centre. 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@edinburgh news.com. Clubs involved so far include:

• Easthouses FC

• Edinburgh South FC

• Kirkliston & South Queensferry FC

• Lauriston Thistle FC

• Leith Athletic FC

• Loanhead Miners Youth FC

• Sighthill Bowling Club

• Silver-knowes Golf Club