CRY screening at the Sandown Bay Academy, Isle of Wight. Part-funded by the Tom Clabburn Memorial Fund.

28th & 29th January 2014

210 Sandown Bay Academy students were screened for heart conditions by charity ‘Cardiac Risk in the Young’ (CRY) over two days last week. The CRY team, led by Family Screening Manager Tony Hill, made the journey to the Isle of Wight for the first island heart screenings to be held at Sandown Bay Academy.

The screening event was made possible thanks to fundraising by students and by Helen Barnes – Senior Administrator at the Academy – and her cousin Claire Prosser, whose son Tom died suddenly from an undiagnosed heart condition aged 14 in 2007. One day of screening was funded by The Tom Clabburn Memorial Fund and Sandown Bay Academy are very grateful for this sponsorship as it enabled CRY to screen twice as many young people.

Helen decided to arrange the first Isle of Wight screenings at Sandown Bay Academy because she felt that, as a school with an excellent sporting reputation, Sandown would be an ideal venue to screen its students – many of whom are active in sport. CRY statistics say that at least 12 young people die suddenly of previously undetected heart problems each week in the UK. These young people are often fit and active.

The students were very positive about the experience and were all seen by a CRY doctor after their screening. Follow-up tests and GP visits were recommended in a small number of cases. Students were given pastoral support by the school nurse, Caroline McToldridge, whose own son Jake was screened; and Head of Red House, Sarah Jones, who played a huge part in the fundraising and accompanied students to their screening if they were nervous.

Matthew Miselbach, aged 16 said, “As a keen sportsman I wanted to have the test for peace of mind. I thought it was important to be tested, especially as many of the people who die of previously undetected heart problems are usually fit and active. I would encourage as many people as possible to have the test if they get the opportunity.”

Tony Hill, CRY Family Screening Manager, said, “The Sandown Bay Academy students were very polite, courteous and extremely well behaved. The team were made very welcome and were pleased to have screened so many lovely students.”

Stuart Johnson, PE teacher, said, “All of the students I spoke to were thrilled to be given the opportunity to be tested and are extremely grateful for this.”

Claire Prosser recorded a short interview about Tom’s Fund and the screenings with Isle of Wight Radio, which aired on 28th January. The Isle of Wight County Press ran an article before the screening and visited the school to see the CRY team at work.

Thank you to Tom’s Fund from all at Sandown Bay Academy.

Helen Barnes

Left to right: Tony Hill (CRY), Sarah Jones, two pupils at Sandown Bay Academy, Claire Prosser, Helen Barnes