Jamie Skinner pals’ barter bid for defibrillators

Jamie Skinner died of a suspected heart attack on the football field. Picture: contributed
Jamie Skinner died of a suspected heart attack on the football field. Picture: contributed
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A SCHOOL is hoping to turn a single red paperclip into dozens of defibrillators in memory of former pupil Jamie Skinner.

Students at Liberton High aim to barter their way up from the worthless bit of stationery to something they can sell for thousands of pounds to buy the life-saving kit.

Former Hearts youth team player Jamie, 13, suffered a suspected heart attack after making his debut for Tynecastle FC days before Christmas.

His family are to set up a foundation to supply life-
saving defibrillators to schools and teams across the region and in his native Nigeria.

Head Stephen Kelly said Jamie was a well-loved and popular member of the school and his former classmates, teachers and other school staff were determined to help.

He said: “The Jamie Skinner Foundation is being started by his sister Sonia and we at the school are really keen to support that, raising money for the defibrillators. We have set up a committee to help raise money for it and plan a number of fundraisers.

“Our librarian found this story about a man in Canada swapping a red paperclip and eventually getting a house, so we decided to see how far we could take it for the Jamie Skinner Foundation.”

The paperclip has been donated by fifth-year pupil Anne Van-Dyke and each week the school plans to exchange the current item for the highest value item they are offered. People will be able to offer items on Facebook account “Have a Heart LHS” and a Twitter account – where regular updates will be posted.

Librarian Christine Babbs, who came up with the idea, said: “We plan on doing it for as long as it takes to get something good. It would be lovely if the whole city became involved. I’ve had one boy who said, I’ve got a Darth Vader stress ball, I could swap that. I said, if that’s the best thing we can get in a week, we’ll take that, but if it’s a Lamborghini, we’ll take that.”

Football clubs, businesses and other organisations have donated signed football strips, vouchers and other gifts for an auction to launch the charity on April 12.

Sonia McCraw, 29, Jamie’s sister, said the family had been overwhelmed since they announced their plans for Jamie’s charity. “We want Jamie to be remembered and don’t want another family to go through losing someone they love because there isn’t a defibrillator nearby,” she said.

“We want to see them everywhere and to help get people trained on how to use them if they have to. Heart problems don’t just affect older people.”

Tricks of the amazing trade

Canadian Kyle MacDonald turned a red paperclip into a house in just 14 swaps.

In 2005-6 he embarked on a series of swaps which saw him trade up through a novelty doorknob, a camping stove, a snowmobile, a recording contract and an afternoon with rock star Alice Cooper. He got the idea from a child’s game called Bigger, Better, but created a website for the project and promised to visit potential traders wherever they were based.

It ended when the town of Kipling offered to trade a 1920s house for a speaking part

in a movie by Hollywood actor and director Corbin Bernsen.