Duchess’ seal of approval for rural emergency response charity, The Sandpiper Trust

The Duchess of Argyll presents Doctor Kate MacGregor with Sandpiper Bag, as she is announced as the latest member of Scottish network of medical emergency responders. 

L-R-Dr Kate MacGregor, Dr Peter Von Kaehne, The Duchess of Argyll

On 10th April at Inveraray Castle the Duchess of Argyll marked the appointment of Doctor Kate MacGregor of Taynuilt Medical Practice as a British Association for Immediate Care (Scotland) (BASICS) Responder by presenting her with her own Sandpiper Bag of life-saving emergency equipment for use in attending emergency medical or accident calls.

In rural areas such as much of Argyll where ambulance resources are thinly spread, BASICS responders acting as volunteers in their off-duty hours are often the first to arrive on scene, administering critical pre-hospital care and ultimately saving lives.

The Sandpiper Trust & BASICS formed this unique charities partnership in 2001 with the aim of saving lives in rural Scotland by equipping trained, volunteer BASICS responders  with Sandpiper bags which contain all the necessary equipment required in an emergency.  Working in conjunction with the Scottish Ambulance Service (SAS), responders are located and dispatched as soon as the emergency call comes in. This approach results in more patients being treated within the ‘Golden Hour’, the 60 minutes following medical trauma or accident, during which there is the highest likelihood that prompt medical treatment will prevent death.

Today’s presentation demonstrates Doctor Kate MacGregor’s ongoing commitment to improving medical care in remote communities and follows her being named as The Royal College of GPs Scotland annual GP of the Year in 2017.

Penny Dickson, Sandpiper Trustee commented “This was a very special occasion today as it followed directly from a generous offer to the Sandpiper Trust from the Duchess of Argyll to promote its work at the Best of the West Festival (BOWFest) 2017. Doctor MacGregor was prompted to volunteer and train as a BASICS responder as a result of attending the festival and her equipment was financed directly by funds raised at last year’s event.”

L-R Dr Peter Von Kaehne, Rebecca McRaild and son Max, The Duchess of Argyll

Underlining the importance of Sandpiper’s work, she continued “The Duchess  takes a keen interest in and supports the local community and associated charities but she could hardly have realised the incredible coincidence which arose  when the Sandpiper stand was situated next to that of Rebecca MacRaild’s KMR Candles last September. Five years ago, the life of her dangerously dehydrated sixteen-week-old son, Max, was saved by Doctor Peter Von Kaehne of Lochgoilhead using equipment in his Sandpiper bag. The infant was airlifted to hospital in Glasgow by the Royal Navy and made a full recovery. Doctor Von Kaehne attended the Sandpiper Trust stand but, for entirely understandable reasons, neither he nor Rebecca recognised each other! Today, mother, son and Doctor were reunited and able to share their memories of that dramatic episode in Strachur. This little boy’s story demonstrates why Sandpiper’s community work is  so vital and we can’t thank our volunteers enough for generously giving their time and experience to help save lives.”

The Sandpiper Trust has now supplied more than 1000 Sandpiper bags to volunteer Doctors, Nurses and Paramedics in rural areas of Scotland. Each individual bag costs more than £1,000 but to appoint a fully equipped, trackable responder to the network costs £4,000. Additional items required include defibrillator, real-time tracking devices linked to the SAS and  protective clothing to ensure responder safety.


Present at the Ceremony:

  • Her Grace, The Duchess
  • Penny & Alistair Dickson founding trustees of The Sandpiper Trust
  • Doctor Kathleen MacGregor of Taynuilt Medical Practice, Newly Appointed BASICS Responder
  • Rebecca McRaild, KMR Candles, Strachur and her son Max
  • Doctor Peter Von Kaehne of Lochgoilhead Medical Practice and BASICS Responder
  • Tom & Pam Hanson – Ambassadors for The Sandpiper Trust