THE family of Jamie Skinner today praised football bosses who have vowed to ensure lifesaving defibrillators are available at every single match.
All clubs in the East of Scotland League will be given a machine in the latest boost for the Shockingly Easy campaign. An £18,000 grant from the Scottish Football Partnership (SFP) will see the equipment put in place – and staff trained in how to use the machines to restart the heart of someone who has had a cardiac arrest – in all 16 clubs.
The news of the windfall comes as The Jamie Skinner Foundation continues to raise awareness about the importance of the equipment, in memory of the 13-year-old who died after suffering a cardiac arrest while making his debut for Tynecastle FC.
His club is among the eight Lothian teams which will benefit from the funding – along with Craigroyston, Heriot Watt and Ormiston – alongside clubs in the Borders, Stirling and Fife.
Jamie’s cousin Karen Greechan said the news had “made her day”.
She said: “They’re taking it so seriously, it’s brilliant.
“It’s great that they have come forward and decided to do this, and to know that the clubs are covered by the defibrillators.”
She revealed that on Sunday she paid an emotional visit to Tynecastle FC’s ground at Saughton, and the pitch where Jamie collapsed.
She added: “We just want to get the message across about how easy it is to use the defibrillators, and for people to know that one is there.”
League chairman Tom Allison said they were grateful to the SFP for the funding.
“When we are playing away games, every club will have them in the changing facilities. It will be available for everybody to use, which is fantastic.
“Getting that facility to every club in the league is tremendous. We want to make sure that funding is for the benefit of the clubs and the wider communities. It’s very good news. If you save one person’s life, it’s worth every penny.”
Mr Allison, who is involved with Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale, said his club already has a machine at the Saughton enclosure.
“We have had training from the ambulance service. It’s something that’s obviously of benefit,” he said.
Ms Greechan added: “You’re not allowed to play football if you don’t have shinpads, yet you are able to play when you don’t have a defibrillator.
“The players are young and fit and healthy, but so was Jamie. It does happen.
“It’s welcoming news that all these clubs will be covered – it’s just made my day.”
Stuart McCafferty, chief operating officer at the SFP, said: “It’s obviously something that we hope will never have to be used at a football game, but when it’s required, we would like the clubs to have them.”
Craigroyston FC treasurer and secretary Jim Sivewright, who also provides medical and first aid support, said: “This is a real boon to us, as it is to all the clubs. It’s absolutely excellent news and I’m sure that everybody will be delighted.”
In memory of Jamie
THE News has joined the family of Jamie Skinner in launching the Shockingly Easy campaign. We hope to ensure there is a life-saving defibrillator in every Lothian sports centre. Here’s how to help:
• Make a donation or fundraise for a defibrillator Cheques payable to The Jamie Skinner Foundation can be sent to Shockingly Easy, The Edinburgh Evening News, Orchard Brae House, 30 Queensferry Road, EH4 2HS.
• Volunteer to host a defibrillator training session at your sports club Contact Sam Grieve at the Scottish Ambulance Service by emailing email@example.com.
• Apply for funding for a device Email firstname.lastname@example.org for an application form.