Firm praised after splashing out on defibrillators

Katherine Newlands, David Ferguson, Lara Okan and Estelle Hollis from Crown Estate with their new defibrillator. Picture: Greg Macvean
Katherine Newlands, David Ferguson, Lara Okan and Estelle Hollis from Crown Estate with their new defibrillator. Picture: Greg Macvean
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A TOP firm has been inspired by our Shockingly Easy campaign to assure the safety of its staff and neighbours by investing in a life-saving defibrillator.

Leading asset management company The Crown Estate has installed a defibrillator in its Bell’s Brae office which can be used by staff or any member of the public.

Staff were given training on using the machines, and signage has been placed on the office’s front door to make the machines more visible to passers-by. The company has also bought devices for its two offices in Moray.

The firm has been praised by the family of 13-year-old Jamie Skinner, who suffered a fatal cardiac arrest while playing football at Saughton in 2013.

The family joined forces with the Evening News to launch the campaign last July, which aims to help every sports club in the Lothians install a defibrillator.

David Ferguson, head of corporate affairs for The Crown Estate in Scotland, said: “The Crown Estate in Scotland is delighted to back the Shockingly Easy campaign by the Edinburgh Evening News.

“Each year, many fit and healthy people die from undiagnosed cardiac problems. It can happen to anyone, any time. If you have a heart attack outside hospital, prompt treatment from a defibrillator machine, alongside CPR, hugely increases your chances of survival.

“We considered it was important to invest in defibrillators for our Edinburgh office, and to provide the team with basic life support training and instruction in how to use the machines.

“We have registered our defibrillators on the Heartsafe website and have let the local community know that a machine is here if they ever need it.

“We are delighted to join the Evening News in spreading awareness of the importance of defibrillators, and hopefully encourage other local businesses to invest in these life-saving pieces of equipment.”

The firm follows in the footsteps of top businessman Duncan Bannatyne, who announced earlier this year that he would be installing vital heart-start machines in more than 60 of his health clubs across the UK.

Jamie’s sister Sonia McCraw, one of the founders of the Jamie Skinner Foundation charity, said: “It is really great that people are looking at what we have been doing and making sure that they have these machines in a place where they can be used by members of staff.

“When we started doing this so many people did not know what a defibrillator was.

“It’s great the message is finally starting to come through.”

Since the launch of the Shockingly Easy campaign last July, donations have poured in from readers – racking up enough cash for 18 defibrillators.

Sports clubs have signed up in droves with the latest teams including Lauriston Thistle FC and Hutchison Vale FC.

There are various grants available for sports clubs who would like to purchase their own device. Clubs interested in fundraising for a defibrillator should e-mail jamieskinnerfoundation@hotmail.com with information about their group.