Dobbies have invested more than £30,000 on installing defibrillators in their 34 garden centres after hearing a moving account of a family’s bereavement.
When Stirling man William Forsyth died of a heart attack at the age of 67 in a remote location, his family raised funds to buy two life-saving AED machines with the intention of donating them in places meaningful to the family. One was a water sports and leisure business run by William's son at Loch Lomond. The other was Dobbies Garden Centre in Stirling, where William loved to spend his time.
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 – and the company was was so inspired by the donation that they decided to install AED machines in allits 34 stores across the UK. Dobbies worked with the British Red Cross to train staff.
Ross Anderson, head of health and safety at Dobbies, 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.”
Christine Forsyth, William's wife 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.”
Ciera Venables, Key Account Manager, British Red Cross 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.”
Pictured: Left to right:: Gordon Forsyth, Christine Forsyth, Jonathan Sykes (Dobbies Stirling store manager) and Lindsay Wingate, William's daughter.