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John Barrie - The Glasgow Airport life saver is set to retire a hero

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Page last updated: 23rd Dec 2016 - 02:24 PM

After 11 years of loyal duty, the duty safety officer at Glasgow Airport has decided he is ready to retire. John Barrie, who has more than a decade of saving lives at the busy Scottish airport under his belt, has given CPR more than 12 times while watching travellers pass through the city and even keeps in touch with those who his first class medical assistance has saved. Not all heros wear capes!

John, who turned 60 last week, said: “They haven’t all been successful but I’m proud of the fact I’ve helped to make a difference when I could.”

“I’ve carried a newspaper cutting in my wallet all the years, with the headline ‘Wife’s heart tragedy’ and tells the story of the wife of a cardiologist who died of a cardiac arrest. The point I’m making is with the greatest will in the world you can’t save everyone, but it’s important we at least try.”

Bette Simpson is 81 years old and has never met John, but she is hugely grateful for his actions towards her then aged 50 year old son, who was travelling through the airport with friends to Ireland when he suffered cardiac arrest. She said, “Scott had just turned 50 and was going to Ireland with a friend when he collapsed. John was at his side in seconds that day and performed the vital CPR that saved his life. If it hadn’t been for him my son Scott wouldn’t be here.”

Bette and John still keep in contact with text messages and Christmas cards two years later even though they have never actually met.

Bette added: “After what he did for Scott, the family wanted to do something for John, but he said he was only doing his job and it wasn’t necessary. My church hosts fundraising dances, so we arranged a hoedown and donated £600 as a way of saying thank you.” Airport chaplain’s charity was the organization that John pointed Bette towards when suggesting a thank you present, and his generosity shows though his own reward for a life saving act going directly to a charity and not himself.
“He’s a credit to the airport and I wish him well in the future.”

John was previously a fireman and worked for Maryhill and Clydebank for 28 years, again showing his loyalty, before damage to his knee forced him to retire and begin working for the new duty staff team at Glasgow Airport set up in 2005.

John works as part of a team of 5 and is responsible for fire safety and maintenance of fire safety equipment, as well as general facilities operations and first aid.

John, a dad-of-four and grandpa-of-three, said: “It’s such a unique place to work and I’ve had so many highlights in my time at Glasgow Airport. It’s safe to say I’ve dealt with almost every kind of first aid incident in my time at the airport but the one I’d always hoped for was delivering a baby.”

Despite his wife’s hate of flying, John plan to visit New York during his retirement. A poem that he wrote is on show at the wall of the New York Fire Department headquarters, as well as a bronze statue of the Citizen Firefighter outside Glasgow Central Station, accompanied by another poem written by John.

John said: “I’ll miss the staff – everyone from the cleaning staff to Amanda McMillan, the managing director. It’s such a great place to work and there’s such a buzz about the place.”

“You experience it all here and that’s what I’ll miss the most – the hustle and bustle of Glasgow Airport.”

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