St John Scotland supports two defibrillators for Ayrshire town

Publication date 12 August 2021

A successful community fundraising campaign has seen the town of Newmilns in East Ayrshire become home to two new life-saving pieces of equipment.

The defibrillators, which can be used to restart someone’s heart in the event of sudden cardiac arrest, have been installed at either end of the town.

It’s all part of a community effort to save lives and improve the community around Newmilns for residents and visitors alike.

Such was the support for the campaign that after raising enough money for one defibrillator in the space of just one weekend, the group behind the campaign decided to raise more funds to provide a second.

Photo of Ayrshire volunteers

The devices have been supported by St John Scotland through our Community Defibrillator Scheme, which covers a percentage of the costs of the equipment.

They have been installed at the CHaT Hub on Brown Street, and Newmilns Community Fire Station and are both available to use 24/7 in an emergency.

Marie Johnson, Chairperson of the Newmilns Regeneration Association, who were behind the successful campaign, said: “We were amazed at the community response and would like to thank everyone who contributed to the fundraising for both the defibrillators. We would also like to thank the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service for agreeing to become custodians of the second defibrillator which is installed at Newmilns Fire Station. Access to a defibrillator combined with early CPR is proven to safe lives, which was highlighted recently when Christian Eriksen was resuscitated after collapsing during the Euro tournament.”

If used within the first few minutes of cardiac arrest, a defibrillator can significantly increase a person’s chances of survival. When switched on, it reads instructions aloud, so can be used by anyone with no training required.

Chair of St John Scotland in Ayrshire and Arran, Jess Duncan, said: “We’re incredibly impressed by the great community effort of everyone in Newmilns to raise money for these defibrillators. Around 70 people each week in Scotland have a sudden cardiac arrest, but currently only around one in ten will survive. We want to work with communities across Ayrshire to ensure more people have easy access to a defibrillator and know how to perform CPR.”

She continued: “Our local volunteers will be working with the community in Newmilns to organise a CPR and defibrillator awareness day as soon as the Covid situation allows. In the meantime, anyone responding to a cardiac arrest can access the defibrillator by dialling 999.”

Edward Kenna, Group Commander for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service in East, North and South Ayrshire, said: “This has been a great opportunity to work closely with Newmilns Regeneration Association in providing lifesaving equipment into the community. It is estimated that every minute of delay in bystander action reduces the survival after out of hours cardiac by 10%. Therefore, early intervention is key to survival and the defibrillator will bring more resilience into the community. We are looking forward to extending this partnership by supporting emergency lifesaving events within the community of Newmilns.”

St John Scotland are encouraging other communities across Ayrshire to get in touch if they would like help to install a defibrillator locally - please contact us at