Baptist church joins forces with Tonbridge Angels for heart screening

Baptist church joins forces with Tonbridge Angels for heart screening
SAFETY FIRST: Fifteen-year-old Ben Greenstock undergoes an echocardiogram at Longmead PHOTO: David Couldridge

The church, in Darenth Avenue, raised £516. It is located near Tonbridge Angels’ Longmead Stadium where the free screenings are held.

More than 1,100 people aged between 14 and 35 have benefitted from the club’s Football Fightback scheme.

This was set up four years ago following the sudden death of two young players from previously undetected heart defects.

In 2015 Junior Dian collapsed on the pitch and died during a game at Whyteleafe, aged 24. Seven years previously, Angels’ Under-18 player Jack Maddams, 17, died in his sleep.

Jack’s father Roger, who began the project, said: “I’m delighted to say that the event was fully booked, and ten people were identified as needing further review, so potentially we have saved lives by our action.

“That is why we instigated the Football Fightback campaign, to help prevent unnecessary deaths in young people that can be avoided by a relatively simple heart check.”

The club and the community have got together and raised more than £35,000 to allow the testing to be carried out.

Angels Chairman Dave Netherstreet said: “This is a tremendous gesture from our good friends just up the road, with whom we have such strong links.

“This money will allow us to continue with our work in organising and promoting free heart screening for young people in Tonbridge.”

The last session, on January 19, was fully booked up several weeks in advance, and the club is already organising another date.

CRY helps to facilitate the testing, which would usually cost hundreds of pounds.

It is the same procedure as those which have been carried out at Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur and the England rugby team.

According to CRY, 12 people under the age of 35 die from an undiagnosed cardiac condition every week in the UK.

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