I was luck to survive heart attack at just 27

Former Stoke City captain Clive Clarke, who suffered a heart attack during a match two years ago, has backed a campaign to raise awareness of sudden cardiac death.

The 30-year-old was at a gym yesterday to promote a charity which supports young people with heart problems.

Clive himself collapsed, without warning, at the age of 27 in the Leicester City dressing room at half time during a Carling Cup tie against Nottingham Forest, in August 2007.

The former Potters start, who said he was ‘lucky to be alive’ had to be revived twice by paramedics using a defibrillator after his heart stopped and efforts to use mouth-to-mouth resuscitation had failed.

Yesterday, the Dubliner, who made 225 appearances for Stoke between 1996 and 2005, was at Esporta Health and Fitness Club in Festival Park to help raise funds and awareness for Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY).

The gym was holding a 24-hour ‘spinathon’ in memory of Nathan Butler, who was found dead on the floor of his bedroom by his mother at their home in Hassam Parade, Wolstanton, in 2006. the seemingly fit and healthy cricketer was aged just 16.

Clive, who now lives near Eccleshall, said: “This is a charity which is very close to me.

“I had no history of heart problems, so when I became ill it really did come completely out of the blue. Being a professional footballer, I thought I was in peak condition, and suffering a sudden defect was something I had never even given thought to.

“I realise I was one of the lucky ones and that I could have easily died that day.

“It’s made me realise how short life can be and you never know what is round the corner.”

He added: “CRY is a charity which goes under the radar and I don’t think that’s right.

“Up to 12 young people die from sudden cardiac death every week and it can devastate families, so any money we can raise for the charity as well as awareness for the work it does can only e a good thing.”

Clive has been fitted with an internal defibrillator which can provide his heart with an electrical shock during periods of irregular heartbeat.

He said: “I am still going to the hospital for assessments as part of my recovery, so I have to take things stead and a day at a time.”

Nathan died from an undiagnosed heart condition called Hypertrophic Cardiiomyopathy (HCM) which affects around 10,000 people in the UK.

His mum Angela hoped the fund-raiser would generate £5,000 for CRY’s campaign to improve access to cardiac screening, particularly among young people involved in competitive sport.

The 50-year-old said: “It’s brilliant to have Clive here offering his support for what we are trying to achieve.

“He knows first-hand how important the charity is because of what happened to him in the past, and having a high profile person like him can only raise awareness for the cause.”

She added: “When Nathan died it was a big shock to everyone, but we want something good to come out of his life, and if we can help to save just one life in the future then it will have been worth it.

“We’re hoping to raise £5,000 through sponsorship and all the staff and gym members who are taking part in the spinathon deserve a big thank you.”