A conversation about Clarissa’s Campaign for Cambridge Hearts

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I met Izzy and Jess at Clarissa’s bench. It is low and wooden, and on it is a metal plaque that gleams in the sun.

“The best bench on Sidgwick,” Izzy says.

Clarissa Nicholls was a student at Trinity Hall who would now be in her fourth and final year at Cambridge. She should be sitting alongside us today; not on this bench, but another, free of an inscription of her name. While on her year abroad in Paris last year, she collapsed and passed away from an undiagnosed heart condition.

Clarissa, to all who knew her, was a vision of perfect health. Her death was an unspeakable tragedy, and it was also frightening: how could a top athlete who was an active member of the Cambridge sports scene, played University hockey, and ran regularly, die of a heart condition?