Lions donate funds for heart screening event

Dale Whiford (left), manager of Billingshurst Leisure Centre, and Billingshurst Lions president Ken Johnson at Billinghurst Leisure Centre SUS-150712-135707001
Dale Whiford (left), manager of Billingshurst Leisure Centre, and Billingshurst Lions president Ken Johnson at Billinghurst Leisure Centre SUS-150712-135707001

Fundraising for a heart screening day which saw over 100 teenagers tested for potentially fatal conditions has been boosted by a donation from Billingshurst Lions.

The president of Billingshurst Lions, Ken Johnson, handed over a cheque for £500 to help fund the heart testing day, which was held for pupils of The Weald School.

A team of highly trained staff from the charity CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young) attended the screening day at Billingshurst Leisure Centre in September.

Nursing staff, physiologists and a senior cardiologist were on site to go through the results of electrocardiogram (ECG) and ultrasound tests with each pupil.

The screening detects certain heart defects that can cause sudden death.

Around 12 apparently fit and healthy young people aged from 14 to 35 die from undiagnosed heart defects in the UK every week.

Screening is currently the only way to detect these conditions, but at present only certain professional sports bodies and some private schools have introduced regular screening.

The event at Billingshurst was the first of its kind in the area.

Mr Johnson explained why Billingshurst and District Lions had supported the screening day.

“Young people of the Weald are our future,” he said. “The Lions Club saw this exercise as a means of supporting the heart screening programmes and, hopefully, of protecting our local young people. We were pleased to do so.”

Billingshurst Leisure Centre staff have been busy raising funds to pay for the screening. Manager Dale Whitford said: “We were really pleased to host the heart checks carried out by CRY.

“Our staff have worked really hard to raise money for the day and fundraising is ongoing.

“It would be great to think we could screen more young people in future and we’re hoping to hold another screening day sometime next year, which would be open to all young people.”

Dale Whiford, manager of Billingshurst Leisure Centre, is pictured left with Billingshurst Lions president Ken Johnson at Billinghurst Leisure Centre.

Report and picture contributed by Sandra Walsh.