A St Andrew’s First Aid volunteer who saved a man’s life on her first day back after her son’s death is fronting a £500,000 fundraising campaign for the charity.
The 138-year-old organisation has seen its regular sources of income all but wiped out due to the impact of Covid-19, and now faces challenging decisions about how it can continue to deliver its services for the future.
Volunteer Liz Seymour, from Hamilton, who joined the East Kilbride Company 18 years ago, is urging people to support the campaign.
The 55-year-old lost her eldest son, Mark, a fit young man, in September 2017 when he was 34 when he came home and went to bed after playing five-a-side football with his brother and never woke up.
Despite her efforts using CPR, she was unable to revive him, with the cause of death believed to be a massive cardiac arrest.
Four months later, on her very first outing back with St Andrew’s First Aid after losing her son, she was attending a football match when a spectator suffered a cardiac arrest.
Her training immediately kicked in and she started CPR until the ambulance team arrived, and her fast reactions and skills saved the man’s life.
She 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.”
Since its establishment in 1882, the charity’s volunteers have tended to casualties and saved lives up and down the country – at football matches, music events, community gatherings and even when they simply happened to have been passing.
They have also been involved in many major incidents over the years, from the Ibrox disaster in 1971 in which 66 people were killed to the Glasgow bin lorry crash in 2014.
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.”
Those interested in donating can text SAFA to 70660 to donate £10 or head online to https://www.firstaid.org.uk/donate.
The campaign is being supported by radio and tv commercials featuring Liz Seymour, which will launch later this month.