Couple’s CRY event in memory of son Matthew saw 204 young people screened

Fundraisers Paula and Barry Hesmondhalgh who have raised thousands of pounds  for heart screening for local young people following the death of their son Matt at the age of 22
Fundraisers Paula and Barry Hesmondhalgh who have raised thousands of pounds for heart screening for local young people following the death of their son Matt at the age of 22

Heartfelt thanks - that was the message from some 204 families whose young people benefited from a special cardiac risk screening event in Garstang at the weekend.

The two day event - open to local high school students, Young Farmers and other organisations and the public, was held thanks to the fundraising efforts of an amazing local couple.

Paula and Barry Hesmondhalgh (pictured) have fundraised tirelessly to pay for screening test by CRY (Cardiac Risk In The Young) following the sudden death of their much loved son Matthew at the age of 22.

The latest screening event, for young people aged 14 to 35, took place on Saturday and Sunday at Garstang Community Academy.

A grand raffle, drawn during the weekend, raised a bumper £2,716, plus donations from those attending boosted funds by a further £320.

The couple also set up information displays about heart health.

Paula said: “It’s been an amazing, emotional, tiring but rewarding weekend for both us and our fantastic group of friends. To say we are overwhelmed by the support we have been shown would be an understatement - it’s wonderful what team work can achieve.”

She continued: “The lovely CRY team were very caring, professional and a pleasure to work with. There are people who have been referred on.”

Unfortunately 25 people failed to attend pre-booked screenings and Paula said: “It’s sad really - it’s places other people could have taken.”

The prizes in the Grand Raffle ranged from a stay at a lodge in the Lakes and signed boxing gloves, to meals out and other treats.

Paula said: “It’s been wonderful. We had fantastic support both from people giving things and people buying tickets and people selling tickets.”

Matthew died from Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome (SADS) and the funds raised mean that a further 53 young people can be screened next year.

The couple plan to carry on fundraising as it now costs £10,000 for two days of CRY tests.

• The next fundraising event will be tomorrow (Thursday) at the Garstang United Reformed Church coffee morning from 10 am to 12 noon. Proceeds from side stalls which will include home bakes and cakes, plants stall, preloved items, a raffle and tombola will go to the the Matthew Hesmondhalgh Memorial CRY fund. Proceeds from coffee sales are for the local Mountain Rescue Team.

• CRY (Cardiac Risk In The Young) says that every week in the UK at least 12 apparently fit and healthy young people die of undiagnosed heart conditions.

The charity works to prevent sudden cardiac deaths in young people by raising awareness, screening and research, and supporting affected families.

It can be contacted on 01737 363222 or at www.c-r-y.org.uk or email cry@c-r-y.org.uk

See the The Matthew Hesmondhalgh MemorialFund-CRY page on Facebook for updates on Paula and Barry’s continued fundraising and to look out for details of future screening events.