HE’s a familiar sight in the halls of power – but now the Lord Provost has swapped the City Chambers for Salisbury Crags as he shapes up for a charity challenge.
Donald Wilson is backing the Evening News’ Shockingly Easy campaign, which aims to put life-saving defibrillators in every sports club across the Lothians.
After tackling two 5km races, he will now limber up for the Edinburgh Half Marathon in May in memory of popular Liberton High School pupil Jamie Skinner, 13, who suffered a fatal cardiac arrest last December while playing football at Saughton.
Councillor Wilson said: “The Skinner family, with the backing of the Evening News, has worked really hard to get this campaign off the ground, and I am pleased to lend my help and support.
“The charity has obvious benefits for the city and beyond, and it is clear that maintaining momentum and awareness is key.”
Come rain or shine, Cllr Wilson has been lacing up his trainers for 8.5km runs around the Capital three times a week, sometimes conquering Salisbury Crags in Holyrood Park.
He said: “This is quite a step up from anything I have done before so it will be a challenge, but it is such a great cause. I would be happy just to complete it, although there is a maximum time, I think, so I wouldn’t want to go beyond that.”
The main aim is getting fit, although Cllr Wilson admitted that crisps and pizza were off the menu while his training is under way. He denied there was any competition with city leader Cllr Andrew Burns, who ran the full Edinburgh Marathon in May.
“We both wore our medals to the full council meeting afterwards, although his was a full marathon and mine was a 5km, so this might be my opportunity to catch up a bit,” he said.
Jamie’s sister Sonia McCraw and his cousin Karen Greechan met with the Lord Provost at the City Chambers this week, where he also pledged to host a fundraising event and to attend a training course with the Scottish Ambulance Service on how to use a defibrillator.
Ms McCraw said: “We are totally overwhelmed by the number of people who want to help and get involved.
“With everything that has been happening it seems to be that more people are becoming aware of this and wanting to learn how to use defibrillators. People are anxious and a bit scared to use one but if you damage someone’s rib or something, you are still going to save someone’s life.
“If this campaign saves even one life then we have done what we set out to do.”
Cllr Wilson is hoping to recruit a small team of runners to join in and to inspire others to raise funds for the appeal.
Anyone who is interested should get in touch by e-mailing email@example.com.