Keirans Legacy announced as 2019 charity of the year by Mackenzie & Cruickshank Forres Moray

A CHARITY which was set up in honour of a teenage boy who did not survive following a horrific accident has gained support from a Mackenzie & Cruickshank.

Keiran’s Legacy has been chosen as Mackenzie & Cruickshank’s annual charity and the staff at the Forres-based garden centre were so moved, they have decided to dedicate a whole year of fundraising to the cause instead of the usual three months.

Keiran’s Legacy was set up by Sandra and Gordon McKandie in May 2017 after their son did not survive following a collision with a car while cycling on the outskirts of Elgin in March 2016.

His parents are now campaigning to ensure that all police fast response vehicles are equipped with life-saving defibrillators after it was found the first emergency services on the scene did not have the crucial equipment.

And as well as supporting the cause, Mackenzie & Cruickshank has gone one step further and has installed a defibrillator within its premises with all staff due to receive training in how to use it.

The timing of the charity collaboration is also poignant as Keiran would have recently celebrated his 20th birthday and now in what would have been the year leading to his 21st birthday his family has vowed to raise £21,000 by holding fundraising events in his honour concluding with an auction on Keiran’s 21st birthday.

Sandra said she was thrilled that Mackenzie & Cruickshank were willing to support the charity: “I am delighted the garden centre wishes to get involved. What is keeping me going is driving forward a change and our aim to get all police fast response vehicles fitted with these life-saving pieces of equipment. To do that we need financial support. It’s very generous of Mackenzie & Cruickshank to support Keiran’s Legacy and to extend their usual fundraising effort to a whole year.”

Sandra added that as well as striving to get the equipment into the vehicles the need for an integrated service is paramount to save more lives and utilise the emergency services in the most appropriate manner.

“People assume that if they have an accident near a hospital there will be an ambulance available, but this is not the case. On the day that Keiran had his accident the nearest available ambulance able to respond was 38 miles away in Inverness, the police who did attend didn’t have any equipment and the fire brigade which was equipped with the defibrillators, trauma management and firemen with appropriate skills were not called. We have been lobbying to make this happen. However, we also know the importance of increasing community resilience and educating our young people and adults and are campaigning to get communities fitted with these pieces of lifesaving. Education and awareness in communities and investing in young people is paramount and we are also actively involved in training young people in secondary schools across Moray with the backing of Moray Council.”

Since launching the charity, Keiran’s Legacy has enabled almost 60 defibrillators to be distributed across Moray and Highland, but with the individual pieces of equipment costing between £300 to £1000 depending on where it is located, Keirans’ family are pushing on with their fundraising.

“Our goal is to have every single emergency services vehicle in Scotland equipped with a defibrillator, connecting communities and allowing Keiran to influence practice and change culture and beliefs. That is what we are aiming for and we will not give up.”

Ali Wilson, manager at Mackenzie & Cruickshank said they were keen to help: “We heard about Keiran’s Legacy and just knew that this was something that Mackenzie & Cruickshank, its staff and our loyal customers would get behind. What happened is a tragedy but if we can go some way to supporting Sandra and Gordon and ensuring that more of the defibrillators are distributed then we are pleased to help.”

Over the next year, the garden centre will host a series of events to help raise funds for Keiran’s Legacy and will also distribute collection tins throughout the premises.

To find out more about Keiran’s Legacy, to donate or organise your own event in aid of the charity visit: https://www.wonderful.org/fundraiser/mackenziecruickshank-61532a01