A POTENTIALLY life-saving device in memory of “one of life’s good guys” could find a home at Haddington Rugby Club.

Billy Ness was president of the Neilson Park club between 1994 and 1996 but died on October 20 after suffering a heart attack at his work in Edinburgh.

His family decided to try to raise funds for a defibrillator and heated cabinet outside the rugby club clubhouse, with about £3,800 being donated by members of the public.

Billy’s daughter, Leslie Hodge, was overwhelmed by the support from members of the rugby community and beyond.

She said: “It is absolutely amazing.

“My dad will never have believed how many people he has touched in his life.

“My dad was someone who never saw the bad in someone. He was everybody’s chum, as he would say.

“He was just one of life’s good guys and he would do anything for anybody, which we all saw throughout our whole lives.

“He was somebody you could ask to move something and he would be there – nothing was too much trouble, never.”

Billy, 73, who was a grandfather of seven, was a key part of the rugby club and had coached the club’s minis for more than two decades.

A statement on the club’s website paid tribute to Billy, who was also dad to Chris and Steven.

It read: “Stretching the best part of 20 years, a huge number of kids benefitted from his involvement and leadership, generating lots of fond memories, including those of the many successful tours he helped organise.”

Billy, who lived in Haddington with wife Dot, ran William Dickson Blinds and Shutters, off Edinburgh’s Easter Road, which “for a Hearts supporter was never that great”, daughter Leslie said.

Keith Wallace, president of Haddington RFC, paid tribute to Billy, who he had known for about 40 years.

He said: “Billy was a great servant to Haddington RFC over a long period of time, a real gent and very popular.

“This is reflected in the generosity of the giving, and we are delighted that this will go to providing full public access to an up-to-date defibrillator in his memory.”

The idea of a defibrillator came from the family.

The decision was taken to have the machine, which gives a high-energy electric shock to the heart of someone who is in cardiac arrest, outside the rugby club where it could be used by anyone in case of an emergency.

The high-energy shock is called defibrillation, and it is an essential part in trying to save the life of someone who is in cardiac arrest.

Leslie said: “Hopefully, it is never, ever used but if it saves one person then my dad would say it was amazing.

“He would be in awe at the amount of people he has touched in his life.

“He would never believe it.”

To make a donation to the fundraiser, go to justgiving.com/crowdfunding/billy-ness1