Edinburgh pair express heartfelt gratitude for precious gift of life

Defibrillator donor Colin Mackay,right, and friend Stevie Cameron.
Defibrillator donor Colin Mackay,right, and friend Stevie Cameron.
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Two men who were lucky to survive after collapsing in public have donated life-saving equipment for use at two of Edinburgh’s busiest attractions.

Mike Pinkerton, 44, and 68-year-old Colin Mackay both suffered a cardiac arrest – when the heart stops beating in a regular rhythm.

Now, they have raised money to provide defibrillators – the same machines which helped save their lives – at Calton Hill and the Ross Bandstand.

Both have been installed as part of the ongoing St John and the City project, organised by St John Scotland to provide defibrillators across the Capital.

Father-of-two Mike collapsed in 2015 while at his local vet surgery. A quick thinking vet stepped in to perform CPR, before handing over to paramedics, who used a defibrillator four times to shock his heart back into action.

Mike has spent the last two years fundraising for defibrillators and has so far donated five to the city. These have been installed in a number of venues, including the Museum of Childhood and Summerhall, and now his sixth at the top of Calton Hill.

Handing over the defibrillator to staff at arts organisation Collective, where the machine will be kept, Mike said: “What better view of our beautiful capital city than from the top of Calton Hill – and where better then to install another life-saving defibrillator? The Collective really is an ideal spot.

“The St John Scotland project is all about installing as many defibrillators as possible in public places – giving someone suffering a cardiac arrest the best possible chance of survival – and I’ve tried to choose locations where most people enjoy spending time. I’m so lucky to still be here and to be able to do my bit for such a worthwhile cause.”

Colin Mackay is equally keen to give others the best possible chance of survival. He was playing a game of walking football in 2017 when teammates saw him collapse on the pitch. Friend Stevie Cameron sprang into action and began CPR, which he continued for 20 minutes while the ambulance was on its way.

A trustee of the Walking Football Scotland charity, Colin has already helped three Edinburgh clubs team up to raise money for a defibrillator, installed at Gorgie Farm earlier this year.

He has now donated a further device himself for the Ross Bandstand in Princes Street Gardens. A plaque next to the defibrillator reads: “Donated in the name of Stevie Cameron by a very grateful Colin Mackay, with humble thanks for being my lifesaver”. Colin said: “When I had my cardiac arrest a lot of the guys I was playing with just thought I had fainted. Stevie had been on a training course a few weeks before and recognised it was more than that, so he started CPR. There was no defibrillator available where we were playing so he had to carry on doing CPR for 20 minutes until the ambulance got there and the paramedics were able to help me.

“By doing this I’m also really keen to raise awareness of how easy defibrillators are to use – they are idiot proof.

Lord Provost Frank Ross, Patron of St John and the City, said: “With over 130 defibrillators installed across Edinburgh to date, the success of St John Scotland’s life-saving campaign has been fantastic.

“Each device has been generously funded by people like Colin and Mike, or local businesses, and they have been called into action at least 19 times in emergencies.”