Car treasure hunt drive to help charity

A mother whose son suddenly died of a mysterious illness is organising a treasure hunt to raise money for the charity that supported her while grieving.

Gill Pangborn’s son Simon died of a rare condition called Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome in 2004 having previously lived a perfectly normal and healthy life.

Most people with the condition, known as SADS, do not know they have it until it is too late to to do anything about it.

In July 2004 Gill called Simon and invited him over for dinner. He declined the invitation but mother’s intuition told Mrs Pangborn to go and see him. By the time she got to his home in Bracknell he had gone to Frimley Park Hospital concerned about tiredness and feeling faint.

The last time Mrs Pangborn saw her 35-year-old son alive was in the hospital car park. The results of blood tests had not shown any problems and he was discharged.

“He kissed me goodbye and went home,” Mrs Pangborn said. “Half an hour later he had gone. He had just collapsed.”

Simon, who left four children behind, had never suffered symptoms before the day of his death and had run marathons without any problems.

Symptoms of SADS, also known as Sudden Adult Death Syndrome, include breathlessness and fainting, but a third of cases just die suddenly.

On Sunday, Mrs Pangborn, of Henley Drive, Frimley Green, is holding a Magical Mystery Treasure Hunt to raise money for the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY). The charity was a source of inspiration and support to Mrs Pangborn while she was coming to terms with her son’s death.

The proceeds will go to the Simon Pangborn Memorial Fund, which donates money to CRY’s research into the reasons behind the condition.

The hunt begins at Church Farm on the A327 in Eversley at noon and finishes in Windlesham. The 40-mile route takes hunters across the Mail area to solve Mrs Pangborn’s clues. This is the third time it has been run. In 2005 it raised £1,800 and in 2006 £800.

Mrs Pangborn said: “We’ve been trying to do these things on a regular basis for CRY because they were a great support. It was such a shock when Simon died, just tragic, so we try to raise as much money as possible to help them with their research.

“I don’t know what drew me to go and see him that night but he had already gone to A & E. He just told me that he was feeling a bit tired.

CRY said eight apparently fit and healthy young people in the UK died from undiagnosed heart conditions every week.

One victim was Daniel Yorath, son of Welsh footballer Terry Yorath and brother of TV sports presented Gabby Logan, who died of an undiagnosed heart condition. Shock, stress or exercise can provoke it.

A heart abnormality which causes SADS is often inherited, and while Mrs Pangborn and her husband Alan do not have it, their daughter Vanessa does.

Fortunately Vanessa, 40 has been fitted with a defibrillator to kick-start her heart if it has irregular rhythms. It is checked regularly so that her heart is monitored. Doctors say that thanks to the defibrillator her condition has improved.

Mrs. Pangborn said: “Children as young as four have the condition. It’s very worrying because you are living with it all the time.

Spaces on the treasure hunt are limited to around 40, at £25 per car, and available on a first come, first served basis.

For details or to donate to the Simon Pangborn Memorial Fund call Mrs Pangborn on 01276 692 898 or visit