Harry Faulkner

hfaulkner3On the 7th February 2013 I received the phone call that all mothers dread…”Donna, Harry has collapsed and you need to get down to the squash club as soon as you can!”

Harry was 18 on the 30th of December 2012 and like any dedicated sportsman he delayed the traditional birthday drinks as he had an upcoming tournament for which he had trained hard – especially with it being his last major event as a junior (right).

Circumstances and weather conspired against Harry and it wasn’t until February 1st that he managed to get out with his college friends for that long overdue birthday celebration.

Harry was a wonderful son who never brought any trouble to our door, in fact he only ever brought joy and happiness. He was a quietly confident, honest, kind-hearted, respectable, unassuming young man.

hfaulkner4If you had known Harry you would’ve known he was a sportsman first and a scholar second. No matter what sport Harry put his mind to, he excelled in it. He played several sports at county level or higher (squash, football, hockey and cricket) and over the years was school champion in many more (table tennis, diving, athletics, tennis, badminton etc). His sporting prowess was such that just before Xmas 2012 we had to rationalise his trophy cabinet, as he had run out of room to keep all on display at the same time.

Although his death was a surprise and shock to us, it wasn’t a surprise that when he did die it was doing what he enjoyed the most, which was playing squash. Harry had taken up squash at the age of 12 whilst recuperating from a damaged medial ligament; an injury sustained playing football at a European academy tournament versus Feyenoord.

Harry was ultra-competitive and the high physical and mental intensity of squash suited him down to the ground. Harry was both passionate and disciplined about his work and sport.

Outside of sport, Harry was a well-liked and loved young man who always went about his life with diligence, passion and commitment. Harry’s school grades only once fell below the expectations of his school teachers and himself, and he was so upset, with tears in his eyes, he apologised thinking that he had let us down…which he never had and never did.

Harry pushed on from this setback and from that day, way back in year 11, he never once handed any work in that was either late or below par.

Harry’s diligence was such that he would often get back late in the evening (having taken part in a 3-4 day squash tournament) and immediately get his head down into his homework or project work and would keep going until he was back up to date with where he should be.

hfaulkner5Harry has a little sister, Charlee, whom he loved and adored – not that he would have admitted that to her. They were always rolling about play fighting and teasing each other. Charlee’s favourite tease was to hide all the TV controllers whilst Harry was eating his breakfast so that when he returned to the lounge he couldn’t take control of the TV.

Since Harry’s passing, Charlee has found comfort by sleeping in Harry’s bed. Nothing else has been touched in his room, with everything where he left it that morning before he went to school.

We are yet to get the full results of the post mortem and we are awaiting the date for the inquest into his death. All we have been advised so far is that to all intents and purposes Harry was a healthy young man with a good strong heart who unfortunately suffered a heart attack, which has been put down under the label of Sudden Adult Death Syndrome (SADS).

Fundraising in memory of Harry has already started with several thousands of pounds having been raised at his memorial service. Harry’s friends have also undertaken fundraising – a marathon run (Bradfield College friend); Triathlon by Tom and Dom (Lockers Park School and Little Gaddesden FC); a 10 mile run by friends from Berhamsted School; 90 holes of golf played by his good schoolfriend Ben Pinsent; a 24 hour challenge comprising 12 hours of swimming followed by a 12 hour bike ride, by his friends Ali Leighton, Will Gilbey and Mike Andrews.

These funds have been pledged to CRY to help in their work. Had we known about CRY prior to Harry’s death, or had we known more about SADS, then we know that we would’ve taken advantage of the screening services offered to young people; and therefore we know that the money raised so far is going to a worthy and just cause.

Harry is dearly missed by those that loved him. His story has touched many hearts and he will live on in the memories of us, his family, and also with his friends and those in the sporting world.

Donna and Stefan Faulkner