Jamie Skinner appeal fundraisers go the distance

Headteacher Stephen Kelly, Max Mantle and Omar Shehata, and teacher Claire Young. Picture: Scott Louden

Headteacher Stephen Kelly, Max Mantle and Omar Shehata, and teacher Claire Young. Picture: Scott Louden

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STUDENTS and staff at Liberton High have been walking, running and cycling a distance equivalent to that between Edinburgh and the capital of Nigeria as part of a fundraising campaign for the Jamie ­Skinner appeal.

The school has organised a series of events raising more than £2000 for the Jamie Skinner Foundation, set up in memory of the much-loved former pupil.

Jamie’s friends Omar Shehata, Max Mantle and Jordan Thomson led the drive, backed by his family and teachers.

Headteacher Stephen Kelly said the school had rallied with sponsored leg-shaves, staff ­versus students football matches and supermarket bag-packing amongst the events to raise money for defibrillators.

Most of the school was involved in its sports day which helped to clock up some of the 3293 miles from Liberton to Abuja, which has been mapped out in the library.

“It was devastating when Jamie died, it really was. We had assemblies when the kids came back and talked about our plans and meeting with Jamie’s family,” said Mr Kelly.

“The youngsters who were closest to Jamie got involved in this fundraising and I think it was quite a cathartic experience. It is one of these things that can pull the school community together by doing something to honour Jamie.”

Jamie was making his debut for Tynecastle when he collapsed suddenly on December 22 last year. Amid the panic which followed, a defibrillator which was on site at Saughton was not used. The Evening News joined forces with his family to launch the Shockingly Easy campaign, to find ways to prevent further tragedies.

Liberton High School had its annual prizegiving in June and invited Jamie’s family and friends involved in the foundation. The school also invited the parents of Keane Wallis-Bennett, who tragically died when a gym wall collapsed on her in April.

“We had prizes in the name of both Jamie and Keane for outstanding contribution to the school,” said Mr Kelly. “The three boys who have been involved in the fundraising for the Jamie Skinner Foundation won the Jamie prize. Jamie was an absolutely lovely lad. He was on our honours board for athletics and was, ironically, the fittest boy in the school.

“He was just a fun-loving guy who was really able, he worked hard at school and was a high achiever but managed to balance this with being part of the gang and really popular as well. I think it’s a great campaign and one I thoroughly support. I do a lot of sport myself and it’s one of these things if anything ever ­happened to me, I’d hope there was a defibrillator close by.

“We do Heart Start in the school, so a lot of the seniors are trained in first aid but ­having something like that, the more of them they can get, the better.”

kate.pickles@edinburghnews.com