Cairngorms volunteers win leading award

Ken Cooper with Keira McFarland and Leo Hunt
Ken Cooper with Keira McFarland and Leo Hunt

Two Cairngorms volunteer rangers have landed a top honour in UK-wide awards for quick-thinking which saved life of a visitor to a Deeside beauty spot.

Leo Hunt and Keira MacFarland came to the rescue of Ken Cooper, who collapsed after suffering cardiac arrest outside the Spittal of Glenmuick visitor centre in July.

Leo and Keira used the nearby defibrillator provided by the Sandpiper Wildcat Project and performed CPR to get his heart started again.

Thanks to their swift action, Ken was taken by air ambulance to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee and has made a full recovery.

The volunteers rangers were jointly nominated in the individual category in the National Parks UK Volunteering Awards 2018 for their outstanding contribution in the July 14 incident.

Leo said: “It is an exceptional honour to have won this award.

“Every single person who gives up their free time to volunteer is doing something amazing and every single volunteer will have their own incredible achievements, so to be recognised in this way is truly humbling.”

Keira added: “I feel very honoured to have been nominated for this award, then to win is quite amazing. It really does mean a lot to me to be recognised in this way. It’s a great privilege to be a volunteer ranger.”

The pair were nominated by Fiona Smith, Balmoral estate ranger.

The awards recognise the outstanding contribution made by volunteers.