CLASSMATES of tragic footballer Jamie Skinner handed over a cheque for £5000 in honour of the boy with “the biggest smile” at a memorial a year on from his death.
Liberton High School pupils presented the cheque to the Jamie Skinner Foundation for the funds raised by students and staff in memory of the popular 13-year-old who died after suffering a cardiac arrest while playing football.
The donation – which brings the total to £35,000 – will pay for three life-saving defibrillators for sports clubs in the Lothians as part of the Shockingly Easy campaign, in partnership with Jamie’s family.Wiping away tears, some of Jamie’s closest friends attended the memorial in the school’s library on Friday where they celebrated the life of their much-loved classmate.
Brave 15-year-olds Omar Shehata, Max Mantle, Jordon Thomson and Matthew Keddie shared memories of Jamie, sometimes having to stop reading as they fought back their emotions.
Omar said Jamie loved social media and he had once forced his pals to trek out into the fields on a school trip to find a signal so he could check his Instagram and Facebook feeds.
Omar said: “All his friends loved him. He was always up for meeting new people.
“He was a big Hearts fan and he was so happy to be playing for them. He was such a fun guy and had the biggest smile.”
His pal Matthew added: “When I think of him I just see that big smile.”
Head Stephen Kelly told the gathered group of students, teachers and members of Jamie’s family that the popular pupil was a “superstar” who was much missed by everyone at the school.
He said: “I remember getting a call and crying when I heard the news and my son asking me what was wrong.
“I imagine my reaction was pretty much the same as everybody else’s reaction throughout the community.
“The reason it affected so many people throughout the community is because Jamie was loved.”
He recalled Jamie’s enjoyment of football and basketball, as well as his academic abilities and his election to the school’s pupil council.
Mr Kelly said: “He loved getting involved in stuff. He just had this infectious personality.
“When it comes to this time of year I will always be thinking about Jamie as he was a huge loss to our school.”
Pupils played a rendition of Walking in the Air before listening to an address by the school chaplain.
Speaking after the memorial, Jamie’s cousin Karen Greechan said the loss had “ripped a hole” in their family but the money raised in his name was some comfort to his loved ones.
She said: “It doesn’t seem like that long ago we only had £100 in the pot. It really is incredible. All these people coming forward to help us and it is all for Jamie. He was just such a lovely boy. What happened to us never should have happened. Maybe we can stop it happening to someone else.”
After the memorial pupils and staff played a five-a-side football match.
Golfers raise £4500 to buy defibrillator
GOLFERS have teed up a safer future for their club members by raising an astonishing £4500 to purchase a life-saving defibrillator.
Members of Silverknowes Golf Club were hoping to raise £2000 to buy the vital heart-start device with a fundraising day and auction in August but they were completely overwhelmed when the event raised more than double their target.
Other clubs may have been green with envy when the organisation also received a free defibrillator donated by an anonymous benefactor - later revealed to be Scotland boss Gordon Strachan, whose father used to play at the club.
The drive was prompted by member Steven Adamson whose life was saved by a defibrillator when he suffered a cardiac arrest during football training with Preston Athletic in December 2012.
Steven said: “I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be here now if it wasn’t for that defibrillator.”
The event was organised by club member James Gardiner who said the money coming in “went sky high”.
He said: “Steven survived to tell the story, and we thought ‘let’s go for this and see how much we can raise’.
“He is a perfect example of why we need one, why the club needs one for the local community who play golf, the public who play golf.”
Silverknowes Golf Club has generously offered the second defibrillator to other local clubs to use.