Talent show raises funds for Jamie Skinner charity

Chloe Yeung organised the event single-handedly in memory of Jamie Skinner. Picture: Sylvia Shek

Chloe Yeung organised the event single-handedly in memory of Jamie Skinner. Picture: Sylvia Shek

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A TEENAGE friend of tragic youngster Jamie Skinner has finally been able to say a proper farewell, after organising a fundraising talent show in his memory.

Chloe Yeung was childhood friends with the 13-year-old and was devastated when he died of a suspected heart attack after collapsing while making his debut for Tynecastle FC in December.

And when circumstances meant she couldn’t attend his funeral, the Gracemount High School student decided to hold a show to pay tribute to him.

Now, after months of organising the event single-handedly, more than 150 people have turned out to support the 19 acts who sang, danced and even drummed their way to raise cash for the British Heart Foundation during the concert on Wednesday.

“I was out of town when I heard the news Jamie had died and I was not able to attend his funeral service or other memorial service. I was speaking to a friend and came up with the idea,” Chloe said.

“At the start no-one believed I would be able to do it – they thought it was a hard job by myself and I would not manage.”

But despite a few snags, such as trying to get all the acts – including former Edinburgh’s Got Talent winners Saskia Eng and Caitlin Vanbeck – together for a dress rehearsal, Chloe said she thought Jamie would have been proud of their efforts.

“I think Jamie would have liked it – he always said that if people had a talent they should express themselves and I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to get everyone that knew him to come in memory of him,” she added.

Chloe’s mum, professional photographer Sylvia Shek, was also persuaded to use her talent by photographing the night and said she was “very proud” of Chloe especially considering she’d never organised an event before.

“It went really well, there was a very good turnout and we’ve raised over £400 – it’s amazing,” she explained.

“Chloe had no help, she did it all on her own from organising all the acts to organising the running order – she did everything herself because it’s a very good cause.

“She knew Jamie by being friends from school so it hit her quite bad when he died.”

Ms Shek added: “Having events like this is always good and it gives people memories, some people need closure and it was good for Jamie’s family because they can see how much he was cared for by his friends.”

Also remembered during the night were David Paul, the 18-year-old Hibs footballer who died on the same day as Jamie, and 12-year-old Keane Wallis-Bennett, who was killed at Liberton High School last month when a modesty wall collapsed on her.

Jamie’s sister, Sonia McCraw, 29, is currently in the process of setting up the Jamie Skinner Foundation to supply life-saving defibrillators to schools and teams across the region and in his native Nigeria so that other deaths might be avoided. She attended the night with her brother, Tony, and cousin Rebecca Pitbladdo, who also performed.

“It was just amazing, just pretty much keeping his memory alive,” Sonia said.

“It’s amazing how they all come together when something tragic happens. Chloe has done a really good job, and everyone was so emotional.

“She asked me and Tony to do a speech at the end which was really nice and we actually got a bunch of flowers sent to the school to say thanks to her.”