Craigmillar community learns CPR after tragic death

A St John Scotland volunteer demonstates CPR.
A St John Scotland volunteer demonstates CPR.
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A tragic cardiac arrest victim who died after suffering an attack at the Thistle Centre has prompted his Craigmillar community to wake up and learn vital lifesaving skills.

A regular at the centre, James Stuart had become unwell when visiting in May.

Recognising his symptoms, staff acted quickly to help him, calling an ambulance and locating their in-house defibrillator.

But sadly, paramedics were unable to save him, and he passed away aged just 54.

Mr Stuart’s death hit the community hard and has driven Connecting Craigmillar, part of Inspiring Scotland’s Link Up programme, to train all children, staff and dozens of parents at Castleview Primary School in CPR.

Co-ordinator of the Connecting Craigmillar project Dani Waddell knew Mr Stuart personally and was with him when he died.

She said she’s proud to see the whole community getting behind the push.

“James was a very well-known and well-liked figure in Craigmillar, and everyone was shocked when he passed away so suddenly.

“We’re really pleased that we’ve been able to do this work to get as many people as possible trained in CPR, and to put a defibrillator at the Centre of Wellbeing. The Centre is very well used in the area so it’s a great place to have it available for the public to use.”

Events have run throughout the area to equip the community on how to act in an emergency, culminating in the installation of new defibrillator at the centre on Saturday.

Minister for Community Safety, Ash Denham, who is also Craigmillar’s constituency MSP, said: “It is inspiring to see the community working together to honour the memory of James.

“Cardiac arrest affects people of all ages and can strike at any time, starting CPR and having immediate access to this easy-to-use defibrillator will hopefully make a difference in the event of someone’s heart stopping.

“By turning such a sad 
tragedy into a positive legacy the local community have 
created a lasting tribute to James’ memory,” added Mr Denham.

The Save a Life for Scotland campaign aims to teach 500,000 Scots CPR to save an extra 1,000 lives by 2020.

Director Lisa MacInnes said: “We have been working with the Craigmillar community since the start of the year and have been inspired by their desire to learn how to become CPR ready. As a result, James received the best of care when he needed it most and those who knew and cared for him did everything they could at the most critical of times. Losing James hit everyone hard. It is fantastic to see the whole community in Craigmillar coming together to learn this life-saving technique.”

fiona.pringle@jpress.co.uk