All Party Parliamentary Group for Cardiac Risk in the Young
House of Commons Press Release – July 2002
North Durham MP, Kevan Jones met with Parliamentary colleagues on Monday 8th July to launch an All Party Parliamentary Group on Cardiac Risk in the Young at Portcullis House, Westminster.
Mr Jones has been working with the organisation CRY – Cardiac Risk in the Young – over the last few months, to bring together interested parties in Westminster and form the group. The All Party Group will work closely with CRY to examine the issues surrounding cardiac risk in young people and at Mondays launch Ian Botham OBE, President of the CRY Centre for Sports Cardiology was guest speaker.
Ian Botham OBE met with North Durham MP, Kevan Jones and parliamentary colleagues on Monday 8th July to launch an All Party Parliamentary Group on Cardiac Risk in the Young at Portcullis House, Westminster.
“At the end of the day these deaths are indiscriminate. They affect all sorts of people – amateur sportsmen, professional sportsmen, a guy playing on a pitch, a kid at a school sports day. It is something that must be addressed and has been swept under the carpet for too long.”
Kevan Jones was alerted to CRY by his constituents Jeff and Sandra Moreland who’s son Levon died suddenly and tragically from Wolfe Parkinson White. He has been working with CRY to bring to bring together interested parties in Westminster and form the group. The All Party Parliamentary Group will work closely with CRY to examine the issues surrounding cardiac risk in young people. At Monday’s launch Ian Botham OBE, President of the CRY Centre for Sports Cardiology was guest speaker.
This All Party Parliamentary Group provides CRY with a crucial opportunity to get involved in the only place that is going to influence change – the Palace of Westminster.
The Chairman of the APPG Kevan Jones (Labour) MP for North Durham explained how he got involved:
“The reason I am here today is because I got involved in this worthy issue from a personal perspective through my constituents Jeff and Sandra Morland whose son died suddenly. Jeff has long been a good friend of mind when I was a trade union official before becoming an MP.
Alison Cox had a Parliamentary Reception earlier this year when I met Julian Lewis, the MP for New Forest East, who had also been involved with Alison. Julian and I got together to try and take the awareness campaign on to Parliament and to form an All Party Group and that is why we are here today.
I am very pleased that Ian Botham has joined us to launch the Parliamentary Group. It is very much about awareness and making sure that we raise issues that need to be raised about CRY in Parliament but also try and have the more general awareness campaign amongst the general public.”
Julian Lewis (Conservative) MP for New Forest East and Vice Chairman said: “Like Kevan I was drawn into this as a result of a constituent coming to see me. He had lost his wife in her late twenties. She had been as fit as a flea, having had no indication there was anything wrong with her and then suddenly he was widowed. As he said if only they had known what the possibilities were they would have planned their lives differently and not postponed some of the things they had postponed, thinking they had all the time in the world. So it is not always sufficient to say we can take pre-emptive steps so that a disaster won’t happen. Even if a condition is such that the outcome cannot be changed people are entitled to the knowledge of what they might face so that they can plan their lives accordingly. I commend the work of Alison and am delighted that Kevan has taken on the main burden of being willing to start up and administer the Group and I am very happy to give my measure of support on behalf of my party.”
Ian Botham OBE, who launched the group said: “Ladies and gentlemen, Julian and Kevin. I was asked to get involved with this a little while back, by an old school friend of mine, down at Yeovil. It was in the aftermath of a a tragedy – a 7-year-old girl had died at the swimming pool there. Her father saw what happened; otherwise it would have gone down as another drowning. Another young lad I knew Wilf Slack, fit and healthy, played for England we were told had epilepsy, and the next moment he had fallen down dead. The other evening I was out having dinner with my wife, Cathy, and bumped into Terry Yorath who I have not seen in a long while now. What happened to his son is well documented. And it goes on. This morning I rang home and my wife informed me that a post mortem is going on in the North East on a young healthy sporty teenager who had fallen over and died. So it is happening a lot more than we realise.
“Coming from a sporting background rather than an academic background and having 3 grand children, and two daughters and a son – a son who is a professional rugby player which is probably the most physically demanding sport there is – I would, for one, like to think there is a situation not too far away where we have, like breast cancer units, units going round to schools and clubs. At the end of the day these should be available. It is available in America. You cannot play sport in America without being screened, or in Italy and I believe it is now happening in Australia. I believe it is something that should be done here in this country. It is no good saying afterwards “well this is what we should have done”. I would like to see CRY try and build up prevention. That is what it is all about to me.”
“I know it would be Alison’s dream to have these scanning machines or monitoring units going around the schools and the colleges, and even the professional clubs. At the end of the day it can happen to anyone – in their teens, very young in your early 20’s or 30’s. It doesn’t matter. It is indiscriminate. It affects all sorts of people. Amateur sportsmen, professional sportsmen, guys playing on a pitch, Dad walking the dog, and the kids at a school sports day. It can affect anyone with children. It has been swept under the carpet for too long. There have been too many excuses over the years.”
“I think it needs to be addressed and I am speaking not only as a sportsman but as a parent and grandparent. That is all I wanted to say on the subject because you can sit around and talk about these things forever but I think it really needs action rather than a lot of gossip.”