Lonach campaign for vital kit

Jennifer Stewart with Lonach society members and retained firefighters at the Lonach Hall defibrillator ceremony
Jennifer Stewart with Lonach society members and retained firefighters at the Lonach Hall defibrillator ceremony

Organisers of the annual Lonach Highland Gathering and Games have launched a fundraising campaign to install lifesaving equipment in Upper Strathdon.

The Lonach Highland and Friendly Society has started an appeal to raise nearly £7,000 to buy four public access defibrillators that will be installed at venues in the valley.

It follows the installation of the first defibrillator in the area, funded by the Lonach Highland and Friendly Society, at the Lonach Hall.

Defibrillators give someone suffering a cardiac arrest more time while ambulances get to a patient’s location. Retained firefighters from the Strathdon station, which is made up mainly of Lonach Highland and Friendly Society members, attended the unveiling of the Lonach Hall defibrillator.

The station acts as a base for local people to learn vital CPR skills that can potentially save someone’s life.

The training is provided in partnership with British Heart Foundation Scotland, which has donated Call Push Rescue training kits to the stations. Anyone interested in free CPR training should contact their local fire station.

To provide the rural community with the potentially lifesaving defibrillators, the Lonach society is seeking support from local businesses, organisations and local benefactors to help fund the purchase.

The four bright green ‘shock boxes’ will be placed in prominent public locations. Sites earmarked are Glenbuchat Hall, Corgarff Hall and locations in Glenkindie and Kildrummy.

Jennifer Stewart, the society’s secretary and chief executive, said: “Supporting the local community is imperative to the society and our annual gathering continues to make a significant contribution to the local economy. We always strive to increase the scope of that contribution and this fundraising initiative is part of that.

“Strathdon is a beautiful, rural location, but one that can take some time for emergency services to get to. With a predominately older population, installing these pieces of lifesaving kit in the local area makes a lot of sense, particularly as no such provision currently exists.

“Applications for grant funding have been made, but any contribution from businesses, organisations or individuals would be warmly received. Our aim is to raise enough funding to have the additional four defibrillators installed by the end of 2016.”