Footballer Gary Hamilton praised for CPR efforts at pub

Musselburgh Athletic player Gary Hamilton outside the Ship Inn. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Musselburgh Athletic player Gary Hamilton outside the Ship Inn. Picture: Ian Georgeson

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a FOOTBALLER has been hailed a hero after he tried to save the life of a pub goer who suddenly stopped breathing.

Gary Hamilton, who plays for Musselburgh Athletic, was enjoying a pint after Saturday’s 6-1 win over Sauchie in The Ship Inn when a fellow drinker in his 60s became unwell.

Everyone has been saying I’m a hero for what I did, but my gut instinct just kicked in. I’m glad I gave the man a fighting chance. My thoughts are with his family.

Gary Hamilton

The 24-year-old sprung into action and performed CPR until paramedics arrived.

An ambulance took the man to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, where he sadly died later.

Gary, from Portobello, said: “I was enjoying a drink in the corner with the boys, and my girlfriend, and then we suddenly noticed a commotion at the other side of the pub.

“People were crowding around a man who had a carer with him.

“Everyone was saying he was having an epileptic fit, but I just knew from looking at him he wasn’t, it looked like he had stopped breathing.”

Gary, who works as a supervisor for Edinburgh Leisure, is fully trained in first aid. However, this was the first time he had ever had to respond to a real-life situation.

Gary said: “When the reality kicked in of what was happening my friends encouraged me to go over and help.

“As I started doing CPR, someone from behind the bar called an ambulance and I must have been doing it for about five minutes before the paramedics arrived.

“I train every single week – you could do all the training in the world but when it happens for real, it’s still nerve-racking.

“I did my best, and everyone seems to be proud of me – it’s just a shame about the final outcome.”

Gary received a phone call later on Saturday to inform him that the man, who is said to be a regular at the pub, had passed away.

He said: “Everyone has been saying I’m a hero for what I did, but my gut instinct just kicked in.

“I’m glad I gave the man a fighting chance. My thoughts are with his family.”

The junior footballer has been widely praised on social media, including a post written on the Musselburgh Athletic Facebook page, which read: “Some heroes wear capes but in this case heroes wear blue.

“An amazing act from Hammy today after the game.

“I’ve seen some great performances from Hammy on the pitch this season – but heard about his proper Man of the Match performance after the game in The Ship when he gave an old man CPR until the paramedics turned up.

“Kept him alive until they arrived.

“Outstanding mate. You are definitely one of our own.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Ambulance service said: “We responded to this call with two ambulances and we conveyed a patient to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary in a critical condition.”

The Ship Inn declined to comment.

courtney.cameron@edinburghnews.com