Fiona Duff: Big-hearted Diane helping to save lives

Just over 10 years ago, in March 2008, a 41-year-old man was cycling his daily route from the bottom of Dundas Street to his office

Thursday, 20th December 2018, 1:13 pm
Updated Thursday, 20th December 2018, 1:16 pm


His name was David Harvey and he and his girlfriend Diane Lester were great friends of ours. At the end of George Street, as he approached Charlotte Square, his great big generous heart gave out on him and I never saw him again.

This year, to mark the 10th anniversary of his untimely death Diane held a fashion swap shop (she doesn’t like me calling it a jumble sale) and her friends donated clothes and then bought those given by others.

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She raised a few thousand pounds and knew that the money had to go to help someone not to die like her lovely David.

Earlier this week a defibrillator was placed on the wall of the Principal Hotel, close to where David drew his final breath. St John Scotland and the City of Edinburgh joined together in 2016 to try to fit as many defibrillators in and around Edinburgh as possible. So far they have exceeded all targets and there are now more than 130 installed.

These machines really do save lives. We Scots have a massive rate of heart attacks – around 70 people a week, which is a bit like a packed double decker bus, if you want to visualise that figure.

The machines are not difficult to use, instructions are clear and simple. However, St John will give classes on how to use them as well as free CPR training.

Indeed, many of the staff at The Principal have been shown what to do by general manager of the hotel, Johan Scheepers if an unfortunate soul has a cardiac arrest nearby.

So keep an eye out for these defibrillators around town – heart attacks kill so many and by having one in close access can increase their chance of survival nine fold. And indeed if you have some way of raising money you too could help install even more.