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Edinburgh schoolgirls raise money for life-saving defib

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A pair of inspirational Edinburgh schoolgirls have raised more than £1,500 to provide a life-saving piece of emergency equipment on the Meadows, one of the city's largest parks.

Ten-year-olds Lily MacLeod and Isla Hathorn wanted to do something to benefit their local community. The P6 pupils are regular visitors to the Meadows, and their mums, who are both doctors, knew the area lacked a life-saving defibrillator which could prove vital in an emergency.

Keen musicians, the pair braved the December weather to busk on the Meadows to raise money in the run up to Christmas. They collected more than £500 in cash donations from locals and tourists, while a crowdfunding page set up to collect online donations raised a further £1,000. A local running group who regularly train in the Meadows also donated money to the girls’ fund to help them reach their target.

The defibrillator has now been installed on the outside wall of the pavilion next to the play park and tennis courts at the east end of the Meadows. It can be accessed 24/7 to be used by any member of the public in an emergency.

The life-saving piece of kit has been provided as part of our St John and the City project, which has so far seen more than 110 defibrillators made available across the city.

Speaking as the defibrillator was officially unveiled this week, Lily said: “We wanted to help get a defibrillator for the Meadows so that people can feel safe when they come here. A lot of people people come to the tennis courts, and there are runs here, and people come to the playground who might need a defibrillator if something happens to them.

“We were really surprised by how much we raised. It felt really good that we managed to do it. Somebody gave us £120 anonymously, which was really kind. Some people knew somebody who had needed a defibrillator so they gave us some money. Other people knew somebody who had had a cardiac arrest but they hadn’t had a defibrillator, so they thought it was a good idea and gave us money too.”

Lily’s mum Alison MacLeod said: “I’m really proud of the girls’ hard work to raise the money for the defibrillator, and of everyone who helped out, it was a really good community effort. Lots of people who supported us said they were really surprised there wasn’t already a defibrillator on the Meadows, so we’re glad the girls have been able to help rectify that! It’s great to help get information out there about defibrillators and how important they are.”

Alex Harkins, Tennis Development Officer at Edinburgh Leisure, who manage the playpark pavilion, said: “The Meadows is such an active place in so many different ways. At the East side in particular with the tennis courts and the play park there are thousands of visitors and participants to the area every year. With no defibrillator unit in the park, we saw the St John and the City project as a fantastic way to be a first response to someone who has fallen ill. Edinburgh Leisure are delighted to host the new unit on the play park pavilion. We and everyone who uses the Meadows owe an enormous amount of thanks to the fundraising undertaken by Lily and Isla to make this possible”.

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