THE family of tragic Jamie Skinner – who suffered a fatal cardiac arrest while playing football two years ago – have won a prestigious award for the charity they set up in his memory.
The Jamie Skinner Foundation, which teamed up with the News for our Shockingly Easy campaign in a bid to install a life-saving defibrillator in every Lothian sports centre, scooped the Community First Aid Champion accolade at the Scottish First Aid Awards 2015.
Jamie was just 13 when he collapsed while making his debut for Tynecastle FC under-14s in December 2013.
The devastating incident took place at Saughton sports ground, where, amid the confusion which followed his collapse, an on-site defibrillator remained unused.
The Jamie Skinner Foundation received charitable status in January and has already provided defibrillators to seven sports centres in the city – the latest being AC Oxgangs Youth FC, Lochend Boxing Club and Fernieside FC.
Sonia McCraw, the charity’s president and Jamie’s sister, said a further 100 venues had installed defibrillators off their own backs in the past two years. She said: “We were absolutely amazed to have been shortlisted for the awards ceremony.
“When they called the Jamie Skinner Foundation as the winner of the Community First Aid Champion, we were in complete shock – we couldn’t believe it.
“It was an emotional moment but Jamie would have been so proud.
“He might not be here to get his awards for football, but his name is still being carried on.”
Sonia attended the awards ceremony – organised by St Andrews First Aid – in the Glasgow City Hotel on Friday night with her cousin, Karen Greechan.
She said despite the fact the charity has already raised £36,000, they will continue to raise awareness as much as possible to ensure the public know a cardiac arrest can happen to anyone, at any age.
Stuart Callison, chief executive of the Scottish First Aid Awards 2015, said: “I would like to extend my congratulations to the Jamie Skinner Foundation for winning this year’s Community First Aid Champion award at the Scottish First Aid Awards.
“The foundation do some really fantastic work in raising awareness about the importance of defibrillators and CPR training.
“Their aims mirror our own and through our combined efforts we can help create a nation of life-savers.”