Family's 10-year fundraising effort to prevent heart deaths

On March 19, 2000, tragedy struck the Wort family. Shirley and Dave Wort’s son Julian died suddenly at the age of 28.

He had been suffering from an undiagnosed hidden heart problem called hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy.

His sudden death was the start of a 10-year involvement by Julian’s family and friends with the charity CRY, Cardiac Risk in the Young, which raises awareness of sudden death syndrome in young people and offers screening and counselling.

To date Julian’s family and friends have raised £27,458 for CRY. The fundraising began on New Year’s Eve 2000 with a family party which was followed by a £1,000 donation from a Frome business person.

Over the last 10 years, family, friends and residents have held coffee mornings, skittles nights and discos. People have walked over hot coals, had their heads shaved, given donations in lieu of gifts at parties and in memory of loved ones instead of flowers.

In 2001, a group of Julian’s school friends held a reunion and collected £642. The Woodlanders Music Hall has made three generous donations over the past decade and Frome Town Boys’ Football Club has also donated on numerous occasions. The Badcox Barbershop held a sponsored head shave in 2001 and raised £2,169.

In 2004 and 2008, The Mail at Rode held two fire walks and raised £2,821; Landmarc at Warminster has given £1,000 and From Inner Wheel held a harvest festival service in 2005 raising £710.

In 2006, Steve Burns – men’s captain at Frome golf club – chose Julian’s fund for his charity of the year and raised £3,000, and in 2008 the ladies’ captain Pauline Jones raised £450. Beckington Primary School chose the charity in 2008 and raised more than £200 and Witham Vale farmers donated £1,000 last year. Kingfisher and Chung Ying takeaways in Frome have collection boxes on their counters and continue to raise money.

Since 2000, nearly £27,500 has been raised and the Wort family, through CRY, have donated an ECG machine to the Frome Medical Practice and another ECG machine and two defibrillators to the minor injuries department at From hospital.

Mrs Wort said: “CRY set up a ring-fenced fund in Julian’s memory.

“The fundraising is still ongoing and we welcome any donations to enable us to donate more heart lifesaving equipment to the community.”

Mrs Wort said: “Everyone during the last 10 years since losing Julian has been so kind and thoughtful to us and our daughter Debbie.”

Anyone wishing to raise money for CRY can email Mrs Wort at shirleywort147@btinternet.com