Jun 17 2011 by Lisa Boyle, Ayrshire Post (main ed)
WHEN firefighter Billy Scott’s heart stopped at the station, his terrified colleagues feared he would die before their very eyes.
But the quick thinking heroes went into auto-pilot and set about saving their mate’s life.
Billy, 55, explained: “I was working late at the station after training and, luckily, a couple of my colleagues – firefighter John Sharpe and crew commander Andy Reid – had also stayed late to finish some paperwork.
“I felt a bit dizzy and unwell, then the next thing I knew, I was waking up in a hospital bed.
“I'd had a severe episode of atrial fibrillation, where the heart rhythm is disturbed, and gone into cardiac arrest, so my heart had stopped.
“Obviously, we have defibrillators at the station and John and Andy were able to use one to keep my heart going until the ambulance arrived.”
Billy lived to tell the tale and went on to have a defibrillator implanted to regulate his heart rhythm.
Now, after 30 years in the fire service, he has retired on his doctors’ advice.
And he will be sorely missed.
For Billy has organised the station's annual dance for more than 10 years, with support from the community and proceeds split between Strathclyde Fire and Rescue'sFamily Support Trust andanother charity.
But inspired by his story, his colleagues decided to give 50 per cent of the funds from Billy’s retiral event to British Heart Foundation Scotland.
Carole Nicol, the charity’s area fundraising volunteer manager, popped along to the station to meet Mauchline man Billy and pick up a cheque for £320.
And Grace Quigley from the family support trust was there to receive a cheque for the same amount.
Carole said: “We're very grateful to Billy and the whole team from Mauchline fire station for their support and for the money they have raised.
“We would also like to encourage other people from across Ayrshire to get in touch and help us set up a fundraising group, to raise vital funds and raise awareness of heart disease in their area.
“BHF Scotland provides specialist nursing care, funds ground-breaking research and helps provide life-saving equipment, including defibrillators like the one that saved Billy's life.
“We rely on the money raised by people in communities like Mauchline to continue our life-saving work.” Heart disease is still Scotland's biggest killer and thousands more are living with it every day.
To find out more about how you can support BHF Scotland, or set up a fundraising group in your area, contact Carole Nicol on 0141 954 8542.