The following is an edited article from a blog post at the Scottish Craft Butchers website.


What happens in the few minutes after a cardiac arrest is a matter of life and death. Each week in Scotland, the equivalent of a double decker bus load of people of all ages and backgrounds will have an unexpected cardiac arrest.

Scottish Craft Butchers care. They care about the welfare of animals, they care about their products, they care about their business and they care about their communities. From the woman who crosses the threshold every day for some chopped pork for their man’s piece to the family who appear each Saturday looking for a Sunday roast to share together.

You know each and every one, provide a listening ear, keep secrets, ease loneliness and day in day out provide great butcher’s banter. You know when to expect them and most of all you notice when they are not there. Butchers like Pamela Hunter from Hunters of Kinross.

In December 2016, John Doig, a regular and loved customer picked up his order and headed off to celebrate new year with his wife Gillian in Dubai. John never returned to the shop after suffering a cardiac arrest and it was Gillian who returned with the awful news. Everyone felt the hit and Pamela started to ask herself and her team, what would we do if the same thing happened in our town, or in our shop?

What happens in the few minutes after a cardiac arrest is a matter of life and death. Each week in Scotland, the equivalent of a double decker bus load of people of all ages and backgrounds will have an unexpected cardiac arrest. Currently only 4 of these 70 will survive to go home, but we can change that together.

A cardiac arrest is when the heart stops beating normally. It can happen to anyone of any age at any time. It is different from a heart attack where the heart keeps beating and the person may be very unwell but still awake and breathing.

In cardiac arrest they stop breathing and with each minute that passes, the chances of surviving drops by 10%. They cannot survive unless someone starts CPR to help buy time and a defibrillator is used to restart the heart back to a normal rhythm.

So, Pamela made a plan and started collecting funds in a tin in the shop to buy a defibrillator in David’s memory that could be placed in a cabinet outside of the shop, to be available to the community 24 hours a day. Within two short weeks, they had raised £2000, enough to fund the project. With the support of the Scottish Ambulance Service they bought the defibrillator and trained their staff in CPR, but it didn’t stop there.

The community kept giving, in the shop through fundraising raffles and events. The community were interested and wanted to find out more, wanted to learn CPR and most of all, help their town to be ready should the worst happen. Inspired, Pamela realised that if one small Kinross-shire community could do so much through one butcher’s shop how much more could butchers do together through the Scottish Craft Butcher network?

In April this year, ‘Scottish Craft Butchers at the Heart of the Community’ was launched by Pamela Hunter at regional meetings in partnership with Save a Life for Scotland, a national campaign with one sole aim, to help people living in Scotland to be ready and willing to do CPR should someone suffer a cardiac arrest and to ultimately save lives.

The message is simple, we need each other to be ready to do CPR if we should ever have to do it. By starting CPR you can double or even triple the chances of someone surviving and play an essential part in bringing someone back home to their loved ones. Using a defibrillator can help reset their heart so it starts to beat normally again.

We recognise that we are all worried we could do more harm and that someone would be much better than us when it comes to something as serious as doing CPR, but the reality is that we can’t do any more harm and actually what we can do, makes a huge difference.

Being first on the scene is scary. Calling 999 to get help on the way and stepping up to do compression only CPR is not an easy decision but it’s the right thing to do. Taking a few minutes to learn how to perform CPR and make you, your staff and your communities ‘CPR ready’ will make all the difference, and can save a life. Having a defibrillator in the heart of your community, placed by your shop will mean everyone knows where it is ready to use it to restart a heart.

Following the successful project from Hunters of Kinross, Scottish Craft Butchers in partnership with Save a Life for Scotland are asking members to join up and help save lives in your community. With 400 butchers within the network, the impact could be huge.

We’re asking everyone in Scotland to get ready, don’t put it on the ‘to do’ list, do it now.

We are proud to include ourselves in this amazing fundraising scheme! We aim to raise enough money through donations to put in a defib machine and to training our staff in CPR – techniques that could help save a life, even the life of our own our own or your family member. Our goal is £2000, and with the help from our generous customers and all the amazing locals, we feel we can reach that goal in no time!

To read more, visit the Scottish Craft Butchers webpage!


Thank you very much!

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