Clubs quick off mark for Jamie Skinner drive

St Bernard's footballers show their support for the campaign ahead of bag-packing fundraisers in the new year. Picture: Toby Williams
St Bernard's footballers show their support for the campaign ahead of bag-packing fundraisers in the new year. Picture: Toby Williams
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A SURGE of sports clubs have signed up to raise funds for a life-saving defibrillator – sparked by the Evening News Christmas appeal.

The rash of interest includes football teams, a school and city ice hockey team Edinburgh Capitals, who have all joined the roster of clubs supporting our Shockingly Easy campaign to buy heart-start machines, in memory of promising footballer Jamie Skinner who suffered a fatal cardiac arrest on the pitch.

St Bernard’s FC, in Mayfield, is the latest to get involved after being inspired by parent Claire Gately whose brother-in-law, former Boyzone singer Stephen Gately, died of an undiagnosed heart condition in 2009.

The mum-of-three said: “Everyone always thinks something like this will never happen to them. I think there is a sort of fear about having a 
defibrillator, which is absolutely unnecessary.”

The club, which has 34 boys on its books, plans to raise funds through supermarket bag-packing drives in the new year.

Secretary Nikki Inglis said: “Our parents have been really supportive of the idea and we really wanted to back the campaign the Evening News is running.”

Mayfield school St Luke’s Primary has also purchased a defibrillator after raising more than £1500 through a series of bake sales and charity events.

Fundraising has already begun at Hutchison Vale Community Sports FC, in Saughton, which has raised £500 towards the cost of the vital kit.

Club leader Tom Smith said: “I just think it is good practice not only to have first aiders at your club but to do as much as you can to keep the kids safe. To have a defibrillator would be valuable for the club.”

Among the generous offers of support were bids from Edinburgh Capitals to hold a fundraiser at one of their games and singer Phil Cunningham to promote the cause during the interval of his Christmas Songbook at the Queen’s Hall today.

The campaign has raised more than £35,000 since its launch in July.