Monday 12th October 2020 — Glasgow, UK
For the past 140 years, St Andrew’s First Aid, Scotland’s only dedicated first aid charity, has been there when people needed it most.
Now, the charity is seeking help in a time of its own need, to raise half a million pounds and ensure that it can continue its ambition to create a nation of lifesavers – an ambition for which everyone can play a valuable role.
Through the impact of Covid 19, St Andrew’s First Aid has seen its regular sources of income all but wiped out. As a result, the charity now faces challenging decisions around how it can best continue to deliver life-saving skills to Scotland’s communities, for years to come.
Volunteer Liz Seymour (55), who joined the East Kilbride Company 18 years ago, is fronting the campaign and asking generous Scots to support the charity to ensure it can continue to save lives for the future.
Liz, who lives in Hamilton, lost her eldest son, Mark, when he was just 34 years old. A fit young man who enjoyed an active life, Mark came home and went to bed after playing five-a-side football with his brother – and never woke up. Despite Liz’s efforts using CPR, she was unable to revive him. The cause of death was believed to be a massive cardiac arrest.
On her very first outing back with St Andrew’s First Aid after losing her son, Liz was attending a football match, when a spectator took unwell and suffered a cardiac arrest. Despite recent events still being very raw, Liz’s training immediately kicked in and she commenced CPR until the ambulance team arrived. Her fast reactions and skills saved the man’s life.
She’s now urging people to do what they can to help make sure the charity can continue leading Scotland’s vital first aid efforts.
Liz Seymour said: “St Andrew’s First Aid has literally been a lifeline for me. After the loss of my son, they were like a second family and gave me the love, support and kindness I needed.
“Although it was really hard, it was almost cathartic to be involved in saving someone’s life during my first event back. My ability to not freeze is testament to the top class training I received. St Andrew’s First Aid is a vital part of our history and it’s so important for us to make sure it is a part of our future too – for us and for those generations to come.
We all have the potential to be a life saver, so I’m asking the people of Scotland to support this campaign – and a charity that needs us to give something back.”
St Andrew’s First Aid has survived two world wars and been on the front line of many critical incidents during its history.
From the Ibrox disaster in 1971 in which 66 people were killed, to the Rangers bus crash and the tragic Glasgow bin lorry crash of just a few years ago, its volunteers have been the first ones on the scene, tending to casualties and saving lives up and down the country – at football matches, music events, community gatherings and even when they simply happened to have been passing.
Since its establishment in 1882, St Andrew’s First Aid has sought to ensure that nobody dies because they needed first aid and didn’t get it – a mantra by which the charity continues to operate.
Stuart Callison, chief executive of St Andrew’s First Aid, said: “The pandemic has delivered us a brutal blow. Without any events taking place or training courses to deliver, our income literally dried up overnight.
“As Scotland’s only dedicated first aid charity, we have a unique history that has woven us into the very fabric of the country. Without our volunteers on site, there could be no football matches, music concerts or community gatherings and our favourite food and drink festivals would be drastically restricted in size. Whilst our presence at events is a definite source of comfort, many will not appreciate that it is also essential.
“As the Scottish government does what is necessary to stop the spread of the virus, we are working hard to find a viable way forward, one which will enable us to continue saving lives for the future. I hope that the people of Scotland will get behind us and our incredible volunteers, so that we can still be around in another 140 years.”
In the last five years alone, St Andrew’s First Aid has:
The campaign is being supported by radio and TV commercials featuring Liz Seymour, which will launch later this month.