A Cove woman who has been awarded an OBE in the New Year’s Honours list has credited Helensburgh and Lomond’s small communities as being the “driving force” behind her voluntary work.

Lynn Cleal has been recognised for her work on St John Scotland’s Public Access Defibrillator Scheme in Edinburgh.

Along with her husband, Andrew Smith, Lynn created a framework which has seen the installation of more than 350 defibrillators in the city.

The framework uses a system which brings together hosts and donors to push forward with the installation of the devices, with St John Scotland volunteers also providing training.

Lynn told the Advertiser: “I was a bit blown away when I found out.

“I did think someone was playing a joke with me – I wasn’t expecting it at all. I’m very honoured, but shocked.

“I always say, it’s a team effort. I have a great bunch of volunteers in Edinburgh who are very driven and donate their time freely. Without them, we couldn’t do what we’re doing.”

Helensburgh Advertiser: Lynn has volunteered at St John Scotland for 11 yearsLynn has volunteered at St John Scotland for 11 years (Image: St John Scotland)

Lynn, who lived in Edinburgh for 20 years, has volunteered at St John Scotland for the past 11 years.

Originally from Aberdeen, the couple moved to Cove eight years ago.

Lynn said: “When we were driving back and forth weekly, coming through Stirling, we saw that there were defibrillators in phone boxes.

“When you get to the peninsula, I think we’ve got eight to ten here alone.

“That was the driving force – small communities like Rosneath, Loch Long, Garelochhead inspired us to really drive this.

“Not only do we live in a beautiful part of the country, but it started something really great for the rest of the country to get on with.”

Following its success in Edinburgh, Lynn’s project has been rolled out nationwide by St John Scotland, with its 12 organisations now taking part.

That includes the Dunbartonshire branch, which is rolling out defibrillators locally.

Lynn added: “It’s a project that touches so many people’s hearts.

“There are so many out of hospital cardiac arrests now and the majority of people aren’t lucky enough to survive.

“We really wanted to do something that was going to make a difference.

“I think St John Scotland have touched on the right thing and we can see the results.”

To find out more about the work of St John Scotland, visit St John Scotland | Saving lives together.