THE football club of Jamie Skinner – who died on the pitch while starring for the team – has paid the ultimate tribute to the player by shunning sponsorship to carrying his name on their jerseys.
Tynecastle FC have abandoned lucrative sponsorship deals to promote a foundation set up in honour of the 13-year-old, who died from a cardiac arrest just days before Christmas
Launched by the teenager’s heartbroken family, the new charity aims to secure life-saving defibrillators for sports clubs across Lothian and has kick-started a wave of fundraising.
Clubs have so far raised almost £10,000 towards buying their own devices, which can increase the chance of survival after a cardiac arrest by up to 70 per cent.
Now Jamie’s team-mates at Tynecastle FC – many of whom were on the pitch on the day he died – will be the first to wear the teams’s new kit bearing the charity name Jamie Skinner Foundation.
Douglas Dalgleish, chairman of Tynecastle FC, said the entire club was united in wanting to immortalise the youngster by wearing his name on their chests.
He said: “When the tragic incident happened back in December, unfortunately I was out of the country in Australia. But through social media, I found out very quickly. I felt so helpless.
“After coming back here and trying to understand what went on, we decided as a club that we wanted to have something to show that we support the Jamie Skinner Foundation.”
Even though Jamie was not a full-time member of the club when he died, Mr Dalgleish said he was “wearing a Tynecastle shirt when it happened, and we regard him very much as one of the Tynecastle family”.
“We have discussed this idea over the past few months, even though it’s costing us a lot of money because normally we get sponsors to pay for our kit,” he said.
He added: “I showed the shirt to the group [now under-15s] that played that particular Sunday morning and said ‘this is what we’re going to do’.
“Their faces just lit up and they said ‘We have to be the first team that wear this.’
“The events of that particular morning will never leave their memory.”
Jamie’s cousin and one of the founders of the Jamie Skinner Foundation, Karen Greechan, said his relatives had been moved to tears when they first saw his name printed on the club’s colours.
She said: “It means so much to us. A lot of us burst into tears when we saw it because we weren’t expecting it. It was absolutely amazing to see it. Jamie always wanted to be famous, and now he is. It’s just unfortunate that he’s not here. It means so much to the family that they’ve done this.
“My youngest son also plays for Tynecastle, and his team all want to wear those strips as well.”
“It’s absolutely amazing that the clubs have done this and that the defibrillators are there. We’re really happy with the progress the campaign has made so far.”