Stirling local, William Forsyth, died of a heart attack at age 67 in a remote location, and his family raised funds to buy two life-saving AED machines with the intention of donating them in meaningful places to the family. One of the machines was given to William’s son business, a water sports and leisure company, Loch Lomond Wakeboard. The family also wanted to donate the defibrillator in his name to somewhere that William loved to spend his time and chose Dobbies Garden Centre in Stirling.
The store’s manager, Jonathan Sykes, was moved by the gesture and organised a plaque in William’s memory to be fitted alongside the machine. Dobbies wanted to do more however and was so inspired by the donation that the company invested over £30,000 for AED machines to be installed at every one of its 34 stores across the UK. Dobbies also worked with The British Red Cross to ensure training was given to staff in the event of a cardiac arrest.
Head of health and safety at Dobbies Garden Centres, Ross Anderson said: “When William’s daughter, Lindsay, contacted us about the family’s decision to donate a defibrillator in their father’s memory, we were honoured. It only seemed right to purchase an AED machine at every one our stores so if tragedy struck, we would have the necessary equipment to help save lives.”
Mr Forsyth's wife, Christine Forsyth said: “As a family we wanted to prevent a similar tragedy happening to anyone else. Being in a remote location, we didn’t have access to an AED machine. When raising funds, we knew William would have wanted us to donate defibrillators to businesses that were close to our own hearts and if they help save just one life then he would be proud. As a real ‘Mr-Fix It’ he would do anything to help anybody, so the donation really is in his honour.”
Key account manager at the British Red Cross, Ciera Venables said: “When used alongside CPR, an AED provides an unresponsive person who is not breathing with the best possible chance of survival. We are proud to support this wonderful initiative inspired by the memory of William Forsyth and Dobbies, who have taken such positive steps in helping to ensure the safety of their staff and customers.”
The retailer said it hopes that by installing AED machines across all its garden centres, these life-saving devices will be more accessible in local, often rural areas in the event of an out of hospital cardiac arrest.