Bowling club raises cash for defibrillator

Sighthill Bowling Club vice-president Stan Blyth and president Ron McCandless with Jamie Skinner Foundation secretary Karen Greechan and chair Sonia McCraw, Jamie's sister, and the new defibrillator. Picture: Greg Macvean
Sighthill Bowling Club vice-president Stan Blyth and president Ron McCandless with Jamie Skinner Foundation secretary Karen Greechan and chair Sonia McCraw, Jamie's sister, and the new defibrillator. Picture: Greg Macvean
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A CLUB whose president’s life was saved by a defibrillator, has now acquired its own device to keep its members safe.

Sighthill Bowling Club president Ronald McCandless had been commiserating with his daughter Heather Seggie, 47, over a Scotland rugby defeat in November when he suffered a heart attack in the car park outside her office, in Gorgie Road.

Tragedy was averted when Heather – a trained first aider – delivered chest compressions before using a defibrillator from her office to re-start his heart.

The club had already started fundraising for a heart-start machine after being inspired to act by our Shockingly Easy campaign, set up to improve defibrillator provision in memory of 13-year-old footballer Jamie Skinner, who suffered a fatal cardiac arrest at Saughton in 2013.

But after Ronald’s brush with death, they re-doubled their efforts to raise the £1300 needed to buy the vital kit. The generous club smashed their target and even returned a grant for £250 from Scotmid, for another club to use.

Bob Bryce, past president of the club, who spearheaded the funding drive, said: “Our former vice president had a terrible scare when his heart stopped and his daughter saved his life. I had been following the campaign in the Evening News and we knew it was something we wanted to do.”

Through intensive fundraising efforts, including cabaret nights and family fun days, the club raised enough to buy a device to safeguard the futures of its 280 members.

Mr Bryce, 72, said: “I think everybody read what happened to Jamie Skinner.

“My two grandsons play football and I think that really brings it home to you.

“It can happen to anyone at any age.”

There have already been three training sessions at the club, where all of the committee members and bar staff have been trained how to use the 
vital kit.

The club also welcomed members of Jamie Skinner’s family to the unveiling of their defibrillator last month, which is stored in their clubhouse for anyone to use.

Jamie’s cousin Karen Greechan, 44, said: “We are really proud of them for what they have done, raising so much money off their own backs.

“It’s another place with a defibrillator on the list and hopefully they will inspire more clubs to come forward.”

The Jamie Skinner Foundation was set up by Jamie’s family last year to install defibrillators in every sports club in the Lothians.

Get involved

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@edinburghnews.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

• Silverknowes Golf Club