Gamekeepers abseil for Air Response Service

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A group of Angus gamekeepers have faced their fears to raise funds for a lifeline rural service that helped to save the life of one of their colleagues.

Donations totalling almost £3000 were collected in June after 11 gamekeepers from The Angus Glens Moorland Group abseiled 165ft from the Forth Rail Bridge in aid of Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance.

Part-time labourer Gary Croll was helping to build grouse butts 1700ft up a steep hillside at Millden Estate earlier in the year when he collapsed and had a seizure.

When his colleagues managed to get the land ambulance to the hill, it was decided that a helicopter would be required to transport him to Ninewells Hospital in Dundee, where it was discovered Mr Croll had suffered a sudden brain haemorrhage.

Milden Head Gamekeeper Jason Clamp, one of the group who took part in the abseil, recalls how important it was for air response to be available that day.

“Gary complained he was feeling unwell. The next thing, he just dropped to the ground. It was really alarming. All of us are trained in First Aid. We called an ambulance and managed to get him in the recovery position.

“When the land ambulance couldn’t get him off the hill, the helicopter was there in 10 minutes and took him straight to Ninewells. Thankfully he is back working now and getting regular checks but specialists say the type of brain haemorrhage he had, many don’t survive.

“When the idea of helping Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance was discussed, we wanted to do it. We all work in remote parts of the Glen.

“This service is really, really important to us all.”

Mr Croll is one of many who have required the life-saving services of the air response unit. While this has been many of the group’s first abseiling attempt, they have all agreed to return and raise more money in October.

Fiona Dennis from Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance met the abseilers on top of the bridge before their adventure, to say a personal thank you for their effort.

She said: “The group’s fundraising effort and their contribution was amazing. I can only thank them and hope they enjoyed their experience!”