Politicians back Evening News defibrillators bid

Spartans Women's Kerry Montgomery, Claire Crosbie and Danni Pagliarulo. Picture: Jane Barlow

Spartans Women's Kerry Montgomery, Claire Crosbie and Danni Pagliarulo. Picture: Jane Barlow

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HOLYROOD politicians of all parties have backed the Evening News’ Shockingly Easy campaign, which aims to put life-saving defibrillators in every sports club across the Lothians.

Lothian Green MSP Alison Johnstone tabled a motion praising the campaign in the Scottish Parliament and attracted support from 27 MSPs from across the political spectrum in just a few days.

Ms Johnstone’s motion also hailed the efforts of Spartans Women FC, who scored a fundraising victory at the weekend – despite losing their game.

The club ­netted £922.50 on Sunday for the Jamie ­Skinner Foundation by ­donating gate receipts from their match against Hibs, which was the last in the season.

The ­foundation was set up in memory of Jamie, a former Hearts youth player who was ­making his debut for Tynecastle FC when he collapsed and died after a cardiac arrest last December.

The campaign is called Shockingly Easy because it is so simple to use defibrillators and learn vital life-saving skills.

Ms Johnstone said: “The Spartans Women FC said the fundraising game was one of their best turnouts of this season and all the funds went towards the Jamie ­Skinner Foundation so that was incredible.”

The Evening News joined forces with Jamie’s family to campaign for defibrillators in sports clubs across the ­Lothians and ensure staff have the training to confidently use them.

Ms Johnstone added: “I really welcome the efforts being made my the Evening News. It’s essential that we ensure the population in Scotland understands what to do when accidents occur.

“Training in basic life-­saving is not terribly expensive but when you think about the impact it can have on individuals and their families this really is immensely important.

“It’s high time we made sure as a country that nobody leaves school without these basic life-saving skills. It’s vital that every school, every sports pitch, every games hall, every supermarket has a defibrillator at hand and that there are people there who know what to do with it.

“We shouldn’t be relying on one individual in an ­organisation and training should become as widespread as possible.”

Ms Johnstone said she had met several members of the foundation.

She said: “The family have suffered a tragic loss and they’re absolutely determined this shouldn’t happen to anybody else. So if we can prevent that by raising awareness, making sure people are properly trained and that the equipment is there when you need it, they will have done a wonderful job.

“The fact this foundation has been set up and it’s in the Evening News means it’s already starting to make a difference.”

Edinburgh Northern and Leith Labour MSP Malcolm Chisholm, one of those to sign the motion, said: “It’s very important to make sure nothing like this happens to anybody else and that people are as well protected as possible. It’s great that the Evening News is supporting this campaign.”

HOW TO DO YOUR BIT

THE News has joined the family of Jamie Skinner in launching the Shockingly Easy campaign. We hope to ensure there is a life-saving defibrillator in every Lothian sports centre. Here’s how to help:

• Make a donation or fundraise for a defibrillator Cheques payable to The Jamie Skinner Foundation can be sent to Shockingly Easy, The Edinburgh Evening News, Orchard Brae House, 30 Queensferry Road, EH4 2HS.

• Volunteer to take a defibrillator course at your sports club

• Learn CPR skills

If you can help, e-mail savealife@edinburghnews.com.

Clubs involved so far include:

• Easthouses FC

• Edinburgh South FC

• Kirkliston & South Queensferry FC

• Lauriston Thistle FC

• Leith Athletic FC

• Loanhead Miners Youth FC

• Sighthill Bowling Club

• Silverknowes Golf Club