Sporting giants back Jamie Skinner tragedy

Bernard Gallacher wants to see defibrillators at all golf clubs. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Bernard Gallacher wants to see defibrillators at all golf clubs. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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A CHARITY in memory of tragic young footballer Jamie Skinner has taken a huge step forward, as football clubs and businesses rally to help.

Jamie, 13, suffered a suspected heart attack while making his debut for Tynecastle FC under-14s on December 22.

His family wants to set up a foundation to supply life-
saving defibrillators to schools and sports teams but need at least £5000 to achieve charitable status.

The Evening News can reveal clubs including Hibs, Hearts, Manchester United and Newcastle United have now donated signed merchandise and scores of local businesses – from tattoo parlours to pole dancing classes – have donated prizes for a charity auction.

Jamie’s sister, Sonia McCraw, 29, said the family had been overwhelmed by the response.

She said: “We can’t believe how generous and kind people have been. Everyone just seems to want to help.

“Donations and prizes have just been flooding in every single day and now they’re taking up a whole cupboard in my house even though not everything has arrived yet. It’s crazy.

“We’ve had a lot of support from the sporting world and have stuff from Celtic, Rangers, Hearts and even Manchester United.”

Lothian golf legend Bernard Gallacher has launched a similar campaign after having his life saved following a heart attack last year.

The 64-year-old was able to regain consciousness and take steps towards a full recovery following the use of a defibrillator and early-response CPR treatment.

The brush with death inspired him and wife Lesley to announce plans to lead a drive for the devices to be available at every golf club and driving range in the UK and Ireland.

Despite members of the public and even a nurse rushing to Jamie’s side on the pitch, he was declared dead at the Royal Infirmary.

Two members of staff at the Saughton Sports Complex, which is run by Edinburgh Leisure, were suspended and later sacked. They are believed to have appealed this decision.

Now Jamie’s relatives hope to be able to set up the Jamie Skinner Foundation as an official charity following the event on April 12.

Ms McCraw said: “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 near by. We want to see them everywhere and help get people trained on how to use them if they have to.

“We’re taking each day as it comes and of course we have bad days, but keeping busy is really helping us all.

“We’re determined for his memory to live on so his litter sister, Ashley, who’s one this month, can see how loved her big brother was.”