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St John and the City Defibrillator Project donor - Paul Burns

St John and the City defibrillator donor Paul BurnsSt John and the City are grateful to Donor, Paul Burns. 

Paul became St John and the City's defibrillator champion, after raising more than £12,000 to provide defibrillators across Edinburgh.

Paul has a very personal reason for supporting the project - after suffering a cardiac arrest when taking part in football training, he owes his life to a defibrillator.

Through his fundraising, Paul has managed to donate four external defibrillator cabinets, meaning devices that were previously only accessible during business hours can now be accessed 24/7. These were placed in North Berwick at the Recreation Park, the Why Not? cafe on the High Street, outside the Fire Station, and at the RNLI Lifeboat station. 

Paul has also donated a further seven defibrillators, to: 

  • Edinburgh Castle, at the one o'clock gun
  • One of Edinburgh's trams
  • Carrick Knowe Primary School, Corstorphine
  • St Mary's Star of the Sea church, Leith 
  • Gladstone's Bar, Leith
  • Victor Paris Bathroom Showroom, Gorgie
  • Corstorphine Astoria Centre

Paul's Story

"On 3 April 2016, I decided not to go for a run up the Pentland Hills, instead I went to play football at the Hibernian training ground  - a decision that saved my life. On that Sunday morning, I headed off to the training ground for the first time to play football with my fellow “FFIT” (football fans in training) graduates. It’s a wonderful initiative developed across most football clubs in Scotland, if you are reading this and feel a tad overweight it’s well worth looking into.

"I travelled like a teenager playing for a new boys' club for the first time. I was so excited driving to the ground. I arrived with no time to warm up, was told what team I was in and the game commenced. For 50 minutes, I felt like I was rolling back the years. I had only ever wanted to become a professional football player and have wonderful memories of my younger years training with Hibs as a Schoolboy, Captaining Edinburgh Schools and winning a Scottish Juvenile Cup with an unbeatable Tartan/Hutchie Vale team.

"I didn’t feel quite myself in the last ten minutes of the match and I was relieved when it ended. However, as it had been such a great match everyone wanted to play an extra half hour. A couple of the guys expressed their concern at how I looked but I didn’t want to drop out and make it an uneven number so decided to take it easy and play. After only about five minutes I got the ball square in the nether regions and collapsed. I can remember everything about that day until that moment. 

"Many thought that I was having an epileptic fit, but they weren’t to know that I was having a massive heart attack which resulted in a cardiac arrest. Hibs Physiotherapist, Kitty Forrest was working that morning and was asked to help. She firstly administered two rounds of CPR and after I failed to respond she used a defibrillator to get my heart back into rhythm. I was rushed to hospital and had stents inserted to unblock my arteries. 

"It was only when I went back to the training ground a few weeks later that I realised how many people assisted in saving my life that day and I am eternally grateful to each and every one of them. Thank goodness Kitty and the defibrillator machine were at hand otherwise I would most certainly have died."

Read more about the St John and the City Defibrillator project

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