Charity backs News defibrillator campaign

Morgan Welsh, Alicia Elliott-Watt and Amy Robertson hang bunting for the fundraiser after Jamie Skinner's death. Picture: Colin Hattersley

Morgan Welsh, Alicia Elliott-Watt and Amy Robertson hang bunting for the fundraiser after Jamie Skinner's death. Picture: Colin Hattersley

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A LOCAL charity has come forward to support a campaign launched by the Evening News and the family of Jamie Skinner in a bid to ensure life-saving defibrillator kits are provided to sports centres.

Liberton High pupil Jamie was just 13 when he collapsed and died playing football in Edinburgh last December.

The Shockingly Easy campaign was set up after the Evening News joined Jamie’s family to find ways to prevent future tragedies.

The new charity backer, Goodtrees Neighbourhood Centre near Little France, provides informal learning services to the residents of south Edinburgh.

It runs wellbeing sessions for parents with babies, and even film nights and karate courses.

The charity’s development worker Jane Prowse, said: “Many of the management committee have children at Liberton High School who knew Jamie, so we decided this would be a campaign we could really get behind.”

For a kick-off, Ms Prowse plans to use the funds raised at a special event today to boost the campaign.

“We’ll be running a whole day of great activities called Craigour Fun Day, starting with kids doing street-dance, samba, drama, bouncy castles and face painting,” she said.

“Then later there’ll be an open mic night until 9pm. I really hope it’ll be like a mini Woodstock.”

It’s not the first time the centre has raised money in Jamie’s memory,

Ms Prowse said: “Some of the youth groups raised a pound each after Jamie died and we collected £32 in one day.”

The news that Goodtrees is backing the campaign was welcomed by Jamie’s family.

His sister, Sonia McCraw, said: “I know the kids in the playgroup already donated £30, so it’s lovely that people we don’t really know are 
helping.”

In April, Jamie’s father, George Skinner, raised £7700 at a charity night which is also being put towards the campaign. Sonia says they don’t know yet how the funds 
will be distributed, adding: “We’ve sent in the application forms for charity status and we’re being advised by the council on how to actually run the charity.

“Then we’ll be able to plan how we select venues to receive the defibrillators.

“Some schools and sports centres already have funds, and even the ground where Jamie died had a machine, but issues remain about training and awareness, so that people are in a position to use the equipment.”

She said working on the campaign had really helped her family cope with the loss of Jamie.

“None of us have really grieved properly, because we’ve been so involved,” she said.

“We are doing this so other people won’t have to go through what we have gone through.

“There’s a misunderstanding about who is vulnerable. People think it’s only the old who are at risk of heart failure, but it can happen at any age.”