THE "harrowing" experience of watching someone she knew collapse and die in the pub has never left Maureen Cuthbertson.

That's why the chair of the Crossgates Community Council is so pleased they've managed to raise more than £11,500 to get five defibrillators, which could prove to be life savers.

Temperature controlled boxes to store the devices – which deliver an electric shock to try and restore a normal heartbeat to someone in cardiac arrest – have started appearing in Crossgates although they're not ready for use just yet.

Maureen said: "People are starting to notice them, which is lovely, and I'm really proud and pleased for everyone that's been involved.

"It came together much better than expected, I didn't think we would manage to get five, but it shows the strength of the community spirit that we've managed it."

She added: "What prompted it was that, over a period of time, several people passed away quite suddenly.

"One death was about five years ago in the pub itself, the Coaledge, when an elderly gentleman literally came in the door, had a quick blether with a couple of people he knew and then collapsed.

"You're talking about seconds.

"We tried to do CPR but it really wasn't successful. There wasn't a defibrillator, and it doesn't always help, but we'll never know.

"I felt useless, I was on the phone trying to get help, and it was quite harrowing, especially when you know the person.

"That's the reason I've kept at it as I witnessed it, and if we can spare someone from going through that, it would be great."

It's been a real community effort with funds pouring in from various sources, including Aileen Todd, a member of the community council who suffered a heart attack and raised more than £2,000 for the cause.

Community council treasurer John Wylie said that boxes for the defibrillators have been installed at five locations: Mossgreen Garage; the 540 Masonic Hall; the Mines Rescue Service; Crossgates Primary School; and the Coaledge Tavern.

And the devices will be placed inside the containers as soon as the locations have been registered with the NHS and Scottish Ambulance Service.

The community council is also gathering names of those will be responsible for looking after the defibrillators and will look to run training classes for locals.

Mr Wylie added: "They have cost over £11,500 to purchase and install by the community council, and we still require more funding because if a defibrillator is used the accessories have to be replaced.

"And even if they're never used, after several years the accessories must be replaced as there is a use by date.

"We should all thank the community council for the effort put into this venture and if you wish to contribute towards the upkeep please don’t hesitate to contact me."

Around 3,500 people in Scotland suffer a cardiac arrest – which is different from a heart attack – every year.

The heart unexpectedly stops beating, the patient will be unconscious and not breathing properly.

Without help they will have generally have just minutes to live.

A defibrillator can provide the vital spark to 'shock' the heart back into rhythm.

It will not always help but survival chances are much higher if the device is used.