THREE days before Christmas the family of tragic teenager Jamie Skinner laid flowers during a poignant visit to his grave.
But now just weeks after the painful first anniversary of the talented 13-year-old’s death, his family has cause for double celebration following the birth of two baby girls.
Jamie’s brother, Tony, has become a dad, shortly after their sister, Sonia, gave birth to Skylar.
In a deeply personal tribute, Mya Jane Jamie Skinner has been named after the uncle she never got to meet.
The double baby joy has come after a gruelling year in which the family has courageously dealt with the loss of the 13-year-old, pictured, who died of a suspected heart attack while playing football for Tynecastle under-14s at Saughton, by creating the Jamie Skinner Foundation in his memory.
Tony, 27, of Moredun, said he wanted to honour his brother by incorporating his name into his daughter’s.
And he revealed that the births of Mya and Skylar had helped relieve some of the family’s grief as they ended their first year without him.
He said: “We want to keep his name alive and to honour his memory.
“Jamie never got to meet her but he would have thought it was amazing.
“It’s been a roller coaster. Jamie died and not long after I found out I was going to be a dad. There is also so much work going on with the foundation on top of that.
“The first year is always difficult but we are trying to make the best of things. With the wee ones coming, it has taken our minds off what happened.
“It’s been a crazy year but it’s good to be able to concentrate on this. We have had our moments and it’s been hard. But this has made it a little bit easier.”
Tony’s girlfriend, Lisa, experienced her first contractions on Saturday and Mya was born shortly before 2.30am on Monday at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, weighing just 5lb.
Skylar, who would have been Jamie’s first niece, was born on December 27 at St John’s Hospital in Livingston.
Mother Sonia McCraw, 30, spent just 20 minutes in the labour ward before giving birth to her baby, who weighed in at 7lb 2oz.
She said the birth of two babies so close together had given the family renewed hope and joy at the end of a harrowing year.
“Obviously, over the Christmas period, we were all going through the first year of what had happened,” Sonia said.
“But with the two wee ones we have been given a new lease of life. I’m sure Jamie would have been very proud of them both.”
The Evening News launched the Shockingly Easy appeal in July in partnership with the Jamie Skinner Foundation.
The campaign, in memory of Jamie, aims to put a defibrillator into every sports centre in the Lothians. The fundraising drive has already raised enough to buy 18 of the heart-start machines, with donations continuing to pour in.