Residents join together after tragic accident

Chris Hutchon
Chris Hutchon

The Ballater community has come together to raise funds for emergency healthcare in the village following the tragic death of a local man.

Chris Hutchon (37) died from head injuries sustained following a road traffic collision on Sunday, January 18.

At Mr Hutchon’s funeral on January 31, his wife Kirstine mentioned that the money from the collection taken at the church would be put to improving emergency first aid services within the local community.

The couple were married at Bridge of Gairn in 2013 and Chris, an IT consultant with software consultancy firm Avanade, was well known in Ballater for his contributions to the community; starting a fitness club, organising discos and helping out Kirstine at the riding school.

A JustGiving page was set up on February 4 by a friend of the Hutchon family in a bid to raise £250 to improve emergency healthcare in the Ballater area. The campaign, which hopes to bring a positive outcome from Mr Hutchon’s death, has already exceeded the original target, with the total sitting at well over £5000.

David Stewart, a colleague of Mr Hutchon and founder of the JustGiving page said: “While speaking with my ex-Avanade colleagues after the funeral, there was a feeling that some of his colleagues, who had been unable to attend the funeral, may wish to donate some money to help Kirstine realise her goal.

“I set up the JustGiving/YIMBY page on Wednesday, February 4, and it went live the following day. The YIMBY application will only take money from those who donated if the project has reached its target goal amount. I set the project target at £250, hoping to reach around £300.

“At 11am on Monday, February 9, the amount of donations received had reached £5500, which has far surpassed expectations and Kirstine and myself are absolutely delighted by the response. Donations have been received from Chris’ work colleagues, friends, family and local Ballater residents. Even people further afield, who don’t know Chris or Kirstine, have heard of the project through word of mouth and been moved to make a donation.”

The initial proposal for the project was to send a couple of local volunteers to a emergency first aid course in Aberdeen. With the amount of money received, it will now be possible to a run a number of courses within the village and provide training to even more volunteers.

Kirstine, speaking exclusively to the Piper this week, said: “I would like to provide training for local residents who live and work in Ballater as these are the people that can make the difference and we want to support them.

‘‘Help with First Aid in the local primary school will allow children to get involved and have the confidence to know what to do in emergencies.”

Since surpassing the target amount, it has been suggested that more defibrillators are added to the existing number in the Ballater.

Mr Stewart said: “If the training and resources provided by the fund can lead to a life being saved, then this will truly be a positive outcome following the tragic loss of Chris’ life.

“We are happy to hear from any residents who have further ideas on how to improve emergency first aid services within the area.”

Aboyne and Upper Deeside councillor Katrina Farquhar praised the fundraising initiative: “This is an incredible thing to do at such a difficult and sad time for the family.

‘‘There has been a fantastic amount of money raised already and shows how the community has been affected by this tragedy and all have come together to show support for Kirstine.”

Donations at https://www.justgiving.com/yimby/chrishutchonmemorialfund/#/.