YOUNG footballers have scored a new defibrillator thanks to a generous donation from a local councillor.
Danderhall Miners Amateur Football Club has become the latest group to net one of the life-saving devices to ensure the future safety of their 30 young players.
It comes as the Jamie Skinner Foundation (JSF) – a charity set up by the family of tragic teenage footballer Jamie Skinner – has urged clubs to come forward to apply for a fresh wave of funding.
Alan Shepherd, match secretary of Danderhall Miners AFC, said: “It has been in the news often about people collapsing while playing sport and we just thought it was something which would be a good idea to have.
“It is something which is so easy to use and if it could prevent someone from passing away then it seems like a no-brainer to me.
“Hopefully we will never have to use it and it will sit in its box for all its days. But we may need it so we are going to make sure everyone is aware how to use it and how to access it.”
The vital kit will be stored in the Danderhall Miners Club, where it will be available for use by sports clubs and residents using the club.
Dalkeith councillor Alex Bennett used council funding available to him to purchase the £1,300 defibrillator and presented it to players during a training session last month in Danderhall Recreation Park.
Cllr Alex Bennett, who represents Dalkeith for Midlothian Council, said: “I live in Danderhall and I know the team very well.
“Following the death of Jamie Skinner, I personally believe that all sports clubs should have one.”
Donations have poured in since the foundation was established last year, joining forces with the Evening News for the Shockingly Easy campaign which aims to install defibrillators in sports clubs in the Lothians.
It was established in memory of 13-year-old Jamie Skinner, who suffered a fatal cardiac arrest while making his debut for Tynecastle FC at Saughton in 2013.
The JSF has already helped to provide funding for clubs such as Easthouses FC, Leith Athletic FC and Lauriston Thistle FC and the charity has urged other organisations to come forward.
There is currently around £20,000 in the charity’s coffers – enough to purchase 15 defibrillators outright or to provide smaller grants to many more clubs.
Jamie’s sister Sonia McCraw, who is one of the founders of the JSF, said: “We want to help as many people as we can.
“We have funds we can give out but clubs can easily raise a few hundred pounds through bag packing or charity nights.
“It’s not just football clubs either, but all kinds of sports clubs. Jamie played basketball and I would hate to think that a club was missing out.”
Anyone who is interested in buying a defibrillator should email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please provide details on your club, how to contact you and why you want a device.
PARLIAMENTARY PRAISE FOR CLUB
A BOWLING club has been praised in the Scottish Parliament for its impressive fundraising efforts to snap up a defibrillator.
The Evening News reported last month that Sighthill Bowling Club had raised more than £1,300 to buy one of the heart-start machines and generously donated a grant they had received to help other clubs.
Lothian MSP Gordan MacDonald lodged a motion for politicians of all parties to congratulate the club for its hard work, which they hope will inspire more clubs to purchase their own equipment.