Defibrillators to be unveiled at Waverley station

Colin Thomson suffered a cardiac arrest at Linlithgow station last year. Picture: comp
Colin Thomson suffered a cardiac arrest at Linlithgow station last year. Picture: comp
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four heart-starting defibrillators are set to be installed at Waverley Station.

First aid charity St John Scotland has joined forces with Network Rail to provide the life-saving equipment – worth more than £7200 – at the transport hub, which serves millions of passengers each year.

The announcement comes after months of campaigning by the Evening News and the Skinner family, following the tragic death of 13-year-old Jamie Skinner from a cardiac arrest on a Saughton football pitch in 2013.

Colin Thomson, 66, of Bridgend, was one of the first people to donate to St John’s appeal, after a defibrillator saved his life when he collapsed at Linlithgow station last June. His wife Anne and a nearby doctor carried out CPR before paramedics arrived with a heart-starter.

He said: “I am living proof of how important these are. There are so many people like me, so if the facility is there, let’s hope it could save someone. I was told it was only because someone was there to give me CPR until the defibrillator arrived that I am still here. Without those two variables falling into place I wouldn’t be here.”

Station staff will be given training and members of the public will also be able to use them, with clear instructions available.

Ian Robertson, chairman of St John Edinburgh, said: “We looked closely at the situation and realised Waverley was the ideal location for these life-­saving machines.

“Not only is it extremely busy every day, it is in the heart of the city, so the defibrillators could be vital in the event of an incident close by.”

Sir Malcolm Ross, who heads St John Scotland, will officially hand over the defibrillators to Network Rail today.

Waverley station manager Juliet Donnachie said: “The station jumped at the chance of entering into partnership with St John Scotland in order to install the four defibrillators.

“We very much hope that a situation in which they are required never arises but, with a footfall of 26 million passengers each year, the new defibrillators will provide that extra degree of reassurance to passengers.”

St John Scotland has also given defibrillators to 21 golf clubs hosting Scottish Golf Union events this year, including the Royal Burgess Golfing Society in Edinburgh, and East Lothian venues Muirfield Golf Club, Dunbar Golf Club and Longniddry Golf Club.

lizzy.buchan@edinburghnews.com