We want more heart screening

The parents of a 16-year-old who died suddenly from a heart defect have backed a campaign for routine cardiac screenings in young people.

Porthill cricketer Nathan Butler was found dead by his mother Angela last month.

she found him lying on his bedroom floor, part way through getting dressed, at the family home on Hassam Parade, Woolstanton.

The funeral took place on March 3, where almost 1,000 people packed into St Wulstan’s church to heart Nathan’s father Philip read out a poem in tribute to him.

The post-mortem report revealed the Stoke City fan died of Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy, which affects one in 500 people in the UK.

the condition is found in those aged between 10 and 35 years old. While many could reach adulthood unaware they have the condition, sudden death can be caused by muscle thickening around the heart causing it to “stiffen” and reduce blood output.

Mrs Butler, aged 47, said: “After Nathan died so suddenly, I though I was the only person in the world that this had happened to.

“It was a great comfort to realise that other families have suffered the same loss and can understand what I’m going through.

“It must help with the grieving process.”

Nathan’s condition is hereditary, so his 13-year-old brother Josh was screened for muscle thickening and given the all clear.

Both parents are now waiting to be screened so they can identify which side of the family the genetic predisposition comes from.

the Butler family is also planning a series of fundraising events to raise money for Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY), an organisation which campaigns for cardiac screenings for young people.

Around eight young people in the UK are struck down by undiagnosed heart conditions each week.

Both Italy and France already have this screening in place.

Mrs Butler said: “My husband Philip plans to raise money by running the Potters ‘Arf with some friends. but this needs to be an ongoing campaign to make people aware of the need for cardiac screenings for young people.”

The family had been overwhelmed by the support of friends and relatives over the last few weeks – particularly Porthilll Park Cricket Club where Nathan was known affectionately as Trigger.

The Butlers have set up a memorial fund and are planning to create a junior and senior Trigger Trophy for the club’s greatest sports personality of the season – reflecting Nathan’s own renowned sense of humour.

Tributes have poured in from Nathan’s former schools, St Wulstan’s Primary School and St John Fisher High School as well as from Signal Radio where Nathan hoped to become a DJ.