After the death of a promising young ice skater, Newsquest’s Greenock Telegraph editor Brian Hossack wanted to ensure schoolboy Jayden Orr’s death wasn’t in vain. So he launched a campaign for every school in Inverclyde to have a defibrillator. Here Brian tells how just four months on the campaign’s halfway there already but that’s just the beginning…
The Greenock Telegraph has a proud history of campaigning.
As its editor I believe we have a responsibility to champion local causes and provide a platform and a voice for people who may otherwise have none.
I believe this is the very essence of what a trusted newspaper should be to its communities and its loyal readership.
In my five years in charge we have been shortlisted three times at the Scottish Press Awards for our work fighting for change.
When ten-year-old Port Glasgow schoolboy Jayden Orr tragically collapsed and died while ice skating, I knew we had to act to make sure no other local child would lose their life in a similar way.
Jayden’s family will never know if a defibrillator would have saved their son’s life, but I was proud when they turned to us to help create something that would make sure their son’s death was not in vain.
Together we created Show Some Heart: The Jayden Orr Campaign with the aim of raising £50,000 to equip every school in our area with one of these life-saving machines.
Four months on we are already halfway there.
Our campaign has secured a debate in the Scottish Parliament, gained the support of a host of celebrities and won the backing of Patrick Higgins, a leading health care professional who has trained medics across the UK for ten years, including at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital.
By the end of 2018 every school in Inverclyde will have a defibrillator and staff trained in its use.
But we won’t stop there.
We want to create real and lasting change. With the help of our MSP we are now petitioning the Scottish Parliament to alter our country’s planning law, meaning that every building constructed from 2019 that can house 80 or more people will legally be required to have a publicly accessible defibrillator.
This change in Scotland’s law will come too late for Jayden, but it will save many lives for generations to come.
I hope his family are proud of the strength they have shown to make sure their son’s memory lives on.
Through Show Some Heart his legacy will be to make sure no other child loses their life in such tragic circumstances — and that is something we can all be very proud of.