‘Lifesaving’ tests carried out in teacher’s memory

Ken Waight's son, Richard Waight, died in his sleep aged just 23 from sudden arrythmia death syndrome. He is pictured here at his graduation.
Ken Waight's son, Richard Waight, died in his sleep aged just 23 from sudden arrythmia death syndrome. He is pictured here at his graduation.

Over 100 people were given potentially lifesaving heart checks in Doncaster after cash was raised in memory of a young Doncaster teacher who died of a rare condition

The heart charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) ran Cardiac Screening Day at Castle Park, the home of Doncaster Knights, on Sunday.

It was the first such day organised in Doncaster, and was funded by the Richard Waight Schools Golf Foundation, from money raised at a charity golf day in May.

Over 100 appointments were made, with men and women aged 14 to 35 able to sign up in advance for a free Electrocardiogram (ECG) screening, to check for any potential heart problems, which could then be followed up on the day with an Echocardiogram check.

In the event, 94 individuals were seen for an ECG, with a small number requiring appropriate follow-up. Those attending included athletes, including a young sprinter, a professional cyclist and rugby players, as well as two dancers.

Appointments were carried out with three ECG machines, every 10 minutes and refreshments were available. Voluntary donations to CRY, on the day, were over £210.

Ken and Jackie Waight have been raising money for both the sudden adult death charity SADS UK, and CRY since 2011, in memory of their son Richard, a teacher at Hayfield School, Doncaster, who tragically died in November 2009, aged just 23, from a previously undiagnosed heart condition.

The funding has come primarily from an annual Charity Golf Day at Doncaster Golf Club. In May this year, over £10,000 was raised, making more than £53,000 in six years. CRY says screening of young people is a simple, vital way of identifying potential heart problems, as in 80 per cent of young sudden cardiac deaths, there are no prior symptoms.

The charity believes an ECG test could save the lives of the 12 apparently fit and healthy young people that die each week in the UK from undiagnosed heart conditions.

It is now planned that another screening event will be held in Doncaster, in 2018, again arranged by CRY and funded by proceeds from the Richard Waight Memorial Golf Day.