ONE of Scotland’s leading business names is installing life-saving defibrillators in his chain of health clubs.
Duncan Bannatyne is splashing out around £60,000 on the vital heart-start machines, which will be rolled out at more than 60 venues across the UK.
There are two Bannatyne’s health clubs in the Lothians – in Queen Street and Newcraighall Road, Musselburgh.
Dragons’ Den star Mr Bannatyne’s investment has been hailed by the family of tragic teenager Jamie Skinner, who suffered a fatal cardiac arrest on an Edinburgh football pitch just before Christmas 2013.
They teamed up with the Evening News to launch the Shockingly Easy campaign, which has so far raised more than £27,000 to help every sports club in the Lothians install a defibrillator.
Mr Bannatyne, who is chairman of the chain, said “a considerable amount of time and energy” had been devoted to researching defibrillators.
He added: “These are a good investment for the health and safety of our members. The defibrillators are easy to use and completely safe.
“We already have trained first aiders and proven and effective first aid procedures in all our health clubs and the new equipment, which comes with comprehensive training, will complement this.”
Feelgood Care, which specialises in the equipment as well as first aid training, supplied 63 Defibtech Lifeline machines, which will be fitted in Mr Bannatyne’s health clubs.
The firm also trained staff in the safe use of defibrillators and recapped basic life support and CPR with key members of the health club’s staff.
Tony Shaw, managing director of Feelgood Care, said: “The Defibtech Lifeline defibrillator is award-winning for its ease of use and the company is very proud to have worked with the Bannatyne Group on this project.
“We feel that the staff are now ready to meet the challenge of a fast response if a cardiac arrest scenario occurs.”
The announcement comes as a boost for our campaign, which has been backed by a host of people in the public eye, including The Proclaimers and Commonwealth Games medallists Lynsey Sharp and Josh Taylor.
Sonia McCraw, whose 13-year-old brother Jamie suffered a cardiac arrest while playing football at Saughton while making his debut for Tynecastle, said the investment would boost national awareness.
Mrs McCraw, 30, said: “It’s just mad – it’s just the kind of thing that we’re looking for. I’m just gobsmacked.
“It has reached him and hopefully it will reach further out to other companies.”
The mum-of-three said she hoped the new machines would help reassure gym-goers of all ages that the lifeline was there required.
“Having the defibrillators there, it might give everybody a peace of mind, if anything were to go wrong,” she said.