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Man meets Cairngorms Volunteer Rangers who saved his life

20th August 2018

Kenneth Cooper travelled to the Spittal of Glen Muick last week (12 August) to thank the two volunteers who saved his life just one month earlier at the beauty spot on the Balmoral Estate.  

Keira Macfarland and Leo Hunt are both Cairngorms National Park Volunteer Rangers, their day to day work usually involves speaking to visitors, monitoring wildlife and taking care of paths.  However on 14 July their training was tested when Mr Cooper collapsed outside the remote Visitor Centre at the Spittal of Glen Muick.

Hearing cries for help from Mr Cooper’s friend, Keira ran to help and quickly realised that Kenneth was not breathing and his heart had stopped. Kenneth had suffered a sudden Cardiac Arrest. Leo reached for the defibrillator that had been installed by The Sandpiper Trust.  Together with passers by the two worked quickly, performing CPR and using the defibrillator.  Balmoral staff member Sonya Hastie called 999 and due to the remote location Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance (SCAA) was deployed alongside a road ambulance and Dr Mcleod, a local British Association of Immediate Care Scotland (BASICS) responder.  SCAA airlifted Mr Cooper to Ninewells Hospital where he spent a short time before returning home.

Keira said “It was a real team effort and that extends to all those generous people who support the two charities that provided the essential equipment we had access to. This is fantastic tribute the work of the Sandpiper Trust who had the vision to place an AED in such a remote location and I cannot describe the feeling of relief on hearing the arrival of Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance. These two local charities really do save lives!”

The public access defibrillator was donated by the Sandpiper Trust to Her Majesty the Queen to place on the estate.  It was located at Glen Muick because of the high visitor numbers it attracts, the location registered with the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS), allowing their call takers to utilise it promptly upon receipt of an Out-of –hospital cardiac arrest call.

Keri Fickling, Sandpiper Wildcat Project Manager, said “The quick thinking of these two volunteers to carry out CPR and use the defibrillator has without a doubt been crucial in saving a man’s life. This is a fantastic example of the chain of survival in action”.

This story also highlights the vital role of these Scottish charities: The Sandpiper Trust, Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance and BASICS Scotland.  Without their work, along with the Scottish Ambulance Service, Kenneth’s story could be very different indeed.”

Kenneth said “I cannot ever properly express my gratitude to all concerned in my rescue.  Although I cannot remember anything about it I know it was an incredible effort by the whole team especially Keira and Leo who used their training to great effect – what clear thinking young people!  I am also indebted to Sandpiper Trust for installing the defibrillator, the National Park for training their people and the Scottish Charity Air Ambulance for a fantastically quick response and for taking me to Ninewells Hospital where their superb cardiology unit put me back together.  My experience really does show the need for more defibrillators in remote areas and training for the people on the ground”

The public is being asked help the Scottish Ambulance Service and the British Heart Foundation to map all public access defibrillators across the country. If you have a public access defibrillator installed in your community please ensure it is registered with the Scottish Ambulance Service at Anyone wishing to learn how to deliver CPR can contact the Sandpiper Trust on [email protected]