Fundraising drive earns £1200 for defibrillator

Jean Howie, right, with Madge Ebbs, Mark Dolphin and Thistle players. Picture: Greg Macvean
Jean Howie, right, with Madge Ebbs, Mark Dolphin and Thistle players. Picture: Greg Macvean
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A FOOTBALL club has secured a safer future for its players after raising almost £1250 for a life-saving defibrillator.

Jean Howie, who lives across the road from Lauriston Thistle’s East Pilton Park ground, held a psychic night and raffle after hearing about the Evening News’ Shockingly Easy campaign.

She collected more than £1200 by selling tickets to a “night of clairvoyance”, with dozens of people aged from 13 to 90 coughing up £3 to have their fortunes told.

The funds will be topped up by a £250 donation from supermarket giant Scotmid, which is helping to pay for 11 heart-starting defibrillators for sports clubs based near its stores across the Lothians.

Our campaign is being run in support of the Jamie Skinner Foundation, the charity launched by the family of the 13-year-old who died after collapsing from a cardiac arrest in December playing football.

Mrs Howie promised Lauriston Thistle secretary Mark Dolphin that she would raise the money for the club to buy a defibrillator after reading about Jamie.

She said: “I played in that park as long ago as I can remember. When I saw what happened to Jamie Skinner, and when you see all the bairns gathering on a Sunday morning, at least 60 or 70 of them and all the teams playing, I thought, ‘What happens if one of those laddies collapses? What are they going to do?’.

She added: “I went and asked one of the coaches one night, ‘Have you got a defibrillator?’ and he said, ‘No, we’d like one but we haven’t got the funds’.

“I said to him, you’re going to have one. I’ll get you one. I don’t think he believed me.”

A host of local businesses flocked to support the psychic night, with 59 raffle prizes being offered. A salon offering free haircuts and a butcher giving away vouchers were amongst those to get involved.

Hearts and Hibs also stumped up a pair of match tickets each.

Mr Dolphin said the team had been looking to buy a defibrillator since a scare involving one of their senior players eight years ago, but had struggled to get the funds together. He said: “One of our amateur players had a cardiac arrest many years ago. He was lucky that someone was on hand who was really clued up on first aid and things.

“Recently, we started a youth section, and then it came to light about the young lad who sadly died. As a club we thought, ‘We’re in a residential area here, there’s a lot of elderly people, there’s a lot of young people, and a lot of people make use of this club, so it’s a good idea to invest in this’.”

Mr Dolphin was full of gratitude for Mrs Howie’s efforts. “We were just expecting £200 or £300, then she phones me and says we’ve raised £1250,” he said.