A campaign has been launched to buy more defibrillators for Musselburgh after the equipment was used to help save the life of a pensioner who suffered a cardiac arrest.

Musselburgh resident John Brown, 85, was in Gordons Chemists on High Street when he took ill and collapsed last Tuesday.

An ambulance was called and pharmacy assistant Fiona Doran started to administer CPR, while a colleague raced to nearby greengrocer Wilson’s of Musselburgh which has a public defibrillator attached to the outside wall of the shop.

Owner Neil Wilson, who is president of the Rotary Club of Musselburgh, said: “Fiona came running in and said, ‘Do you have a defibrillator? We need one now’.

“Right away I just ran, pulled the door open, grabbed the defibrillator and took it into the chemist. When the casualty had the sudden cardiac arrest, he fell, hit his head and all the medicine fell down. Fiona was on the phone to the ambulance service and was being instructed on CPR.”

Neil started to use the defibrillator, provided through fundraising by the Rotary club, giving Mr Brown an electric shock.

He said: “John was not breathing, there was no pulse and no signs of life at all.

“The machine started to analyse him – it is the machine that should have the Superman cape on.

“Just like Casualty or Holby City on TV, you need to clear everybody away from the patient and at that point it instructs you to administer shock.

“Almost instantly he started to show some signs of trying to take a breath and we continued with the CPR. John then started to take more regular breaths and we put him into the recovery position. We knew he was starting to come to and the machine was still analysing, and said there was still no shock required, then the ambulance arrived. John’s heart rate and pulse were quite strong by the time they came, so he had recovered very, very quickly. The paramedic had never been to an incident where an AED unit had administered a shock before and he was quite impressed with this piece of machinery, and that John was in such a good state considering what he had gone through.”

Mr Brown, whose family have given their heartfelt thanks to those who rushed to his aid, was taken to the Intensive Care Unit at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh for treatment.

The family stated in a Facebook message to Neil: “His successful resuscitation is the talk of the unit. No one can believe how lucky he was to have collapsed where he did and to have had such high quality first aid. Without your care he would certainly have died but we are hopeful he is going to make a full recovery.”

Neil and Fiona have also been overwhelmed by messages of congratulations from members of the community who have praised their prompt action.

Gordons Chemists posted on Facebook: “The quick thinking and calmness under pressure of Neil Wilson was vital in keeping the victim alive until the paramedics arrived and we at Gordons Chemists would like to commend him for the role he played. We’re obviously extremely proud of Fiona for her role in assisting this gentleman and, indeed, her colleagues who also acted so quickly.”

Now, Neil is hoping to rally local groups and organisations to support the Rotary Club to buy more defibrillators which would have 24 hour public access. Raising awareness of how to use the equipment will start at the Musselburgh Communities Day at the Brunton Hall on Saturday where people can get a closer look at how the equipment works.

Neil said: “Looking at the distance between defibrillators, it is vital we fill that gap and there are gaps in Musselburgh such as the Stoneybank area where there is no 24 hours a day access to one. I also think the Levenhall area needs one.

“Rotary will look to work with other groups and organisations on this because we can’t do it on our own, we’ve not got the funds to do it on our own. That machine outside my shop cost more than £1,500.”

He added that the public was not as aware as it should be about the locations of defibrillators in Musselburgh and urged those who already had them in their buildings to ensure they were available outside in the case of an emergency outwith opening hours.

Neil explained: “We are now going to set up a familiarisation session about the units at a fundraising coffee morning at the Hollies, probably in November. We are going to raise awareness about the locations, will have a map and will try to have leaflets with all the defibrillators we know of in Musselburgh, whether they are part-time or 24 hour access.”

Fiona is backing the campaign, saying: “The defibrillator unit potentially saved this man’s life. The paramedics said we gave him the best chance of survival. To get more units in Musselburgh would be a fantastic thing to do.”