22nd December 2009
We have just learnt of the death of Ron Presley OBE – CRY’s first Chairman. Ron’s interest in CRY, his contacts and influence, helped launch the charity in 1995 and it was because of Ron that we managed to do so in spite of a total lack of financial resources.
Ron put us in touch with a solicitor and an accountant who both had a special interest and expertise in charities. As a result of them donating their time free, we were able to start CRY owing only £30 – which was the cost of registering as a limited company. To this day, CRY uses the same solicitor and accountants, although we are now able to compensate them for their services!
Crucially Ron also secured the interest of a major organisation, who anonymously made 3 successive annual donations of £10,000 over 3 years. These funds were used as a down payment on the purchase of an echocardiogram machine donated to St George’s Hospital, Tooting – the first hospital in the UK to have any interest in young sudden cardiac death.
The subsequent acquisition of the dedicated Acuson echocardiogram machine was funded through further donations from CRY families and supporters and also the generosity of Acuson echocardiographer Annette Jones through whom we made the purchase and who waived her own bonus in support of our work.
The purchase of the Acuson echocardiogram machine facilitated the first clinic in the UK for families affected by conditions that can cause young sudden cardiac death, to be run from St George’s.
This interest has now gone full circle with the hospital’s appointment of Sanjay Sharma (CRY’s consultant cardiologist who trained at St George’s) as Professor of their new Inherited Cardiovascular Disease and Sports Cardiology Clinic, to be launched in February 2010.
Ron also ensured we had premises for Trustee meetings – first accommodated at his beautiful home in Surrey and then, as we expanded, at his offices off Bond Street. Ron and his wife Frances were pivotal to the success of one of CRY’s first events – an annual Wimbledon Fun Day held at the All England Lawn Tennis Club which raised many thousands of pounds over the years.
Frances announced Ron’s death in The Telegraph, with a memorial service to be held in February (all donations will be to CRY).