Borders gamekeepers prove they’re a glass act by coming to aid of hospital staff

Gamekeepers in the Borders have proved they’re a glass act by handing over thousands of pounds’ worth of personal protective equipment for medics in the region.

By Darin Hutson
Friday, 1st May 2020, 10:33 am
Burncastle Estate head gamekeeper Craig Dickman handing over safety glasses to NHS Borders employee Pam Kennedy.
Burncastle Estate head gamekeeper Craig Dickman handing over safety glasses to NHS Borders employee Pam Kennedy.

Staff on nine moorland estates in the Lammermuir and Moorfoot hills have dug out protective eyewear normally used on shoot days and given it to NHS Borders instead to make use of during the current coronavirus crisis.

That donation was organised by members of the Southern Uplands Moorland Group after being alerted by stories in the news to national shortages of personal protective equipment among medical staff currently contending with an influx of Covid-19 sufferers.

Estates always have boxes of unopened safety glasses ready to distribute to sporting clients and employees at this time of year, but, with a lockdown being in force to curb the spread of the disease, it was decided that health workers could make better use of them at the moment.

Wilson Young, boss of Lauder-based business Eskdale Shooting Services, pitched in too by adding protective face shields to the shipment handed over to medics at the Borders General Hospital in Melrose.

That donation – of 470 pairs of safety glasses and 100 face shields, together worth more than £2,0000 – was organised by Craig Dickman, head gamekeeper at the Burncastle Estate, near Lauder, and handed over to NHS Borders shift worker Pam Kennedy.

He said: “A lot of estates have safety glasses for guests. On the estate I work on, all shoot staff, including beaters and flankers, are given them for protection and, given concerns about shortages of PPE, the estates felt it was appropriate to club together and give the hospital workers what we had. Along with Eskdale Shooting Services, we also managed to get some protective face shields.

“We just felt they could be put to good use now, given the job nurses and hospital workers are doing in saving lives.

“After we made the first drop-off of 150 glasses, we got a call from the hospital to say how good it was for staff morale.

“They are doing an amazing job at a really, really difficult time.”