A sunny day. A clear blue sky. The sort of
day made for families, for the beach, for a barbecue. But for us
it was a different sort of family day, a CRY screening day in our son
Tom's name at Tottenham Hotspur FC's White Hart Lane stadium.
It meant an awful lot to me. Spurs are my team, always
have been. They were Tom's team too. He stuck with them
through thick (not much) and thin (plenty) despite
living in west London. White Hart Lane was our
place, where we'd go to watch a game & chat about
football, life, the universe. It was one of the ways we
got to know each other.
And then it was all over. Just like that, as countless
CRY families know and have experienced.
Tom died aged 14 in 2007. We'd been to watch Spurs play
not long before. He watched them on the TV the afternoon
before we lost him.
So I hadn't been back to the Lane, hadn't wanted to. And
when I saw the pictures of Fabrice Muamba collapsed at
the stadium it brought back a lot of memories. Like
others, I fervently hoped he'd pull through and,
somehow, he did.
occurred to me that part of the reason he'd survived was
that he was an elite athlete who had highly qualified
medical staff close at hand, unlike most young people.
It also occurred to me that Spurs have a track record of
working in their local community, one of the most
deprived parts of London.
So I approached the Tottenham Hotspur Foundation, which
leads the community work, including health programmes,
and asked if they'd consider hosting a screening.
In no time at all I found myself back at the stadium,
along with CRY's Steve Cox, to meet Grant Cornwell MBE,
the foundation's Chief Executive Officer, and Maria
Abraham, the foundation's Health and Wellbeing Manager.
They couldn't have been more hospitable or supportive.
They recognised that heart screenings fitted with the
type of health initiatives the foundation were already
Further, they understood the importance of access to
screening for all young people, not just those at the
top of their sporting professions.
So a plan emerged in which executive boxes would be used
for the screenings with a large function room used as a
Part of the publicity for the event would be a mention
in the programme for Tottenham's last match of the
season. That, no doubt, helped to ensure the screenings
were quickly fully booked.
On the day, the foundation's Nicola Banks looked after
things for the club and the screenings ran like
clockwork. The CRY medical team remarked upon how good
the facilities and lay-out were & how low the drop out
So they were happy. And Spurs were happy. Was I happy? I
I would rather have been at the stadium with Tom for a
game, of course I would. I miss him every day. But this
screening felt like a fine way to continue to remember