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Stowmarket: Family of Lily Webster campaign for heart screening to prevent similar tragedies

09:17 30 November 2012

Melanie Webster pictured holding a photo of her daughter Lily

Melanie Webster pictured holding a photo of her daughter Lily

Archant

THE family of a 15-year-old Suffolk schoolgirl who died from a rare heart condition are set to spearhead a screening campaign to prevent similar tragedies.

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Hundreds of people in Suffolk - particularly youngsters - could benefit from the initiative being launched by the family of Lily Webster, the popular teenager who collapsed during a trampolining class at Mid Suffolk Leisure Centre, Stowmarket, in January.

A coroner ruled she died from the rare heart condition called Sudden Adult Death Syndrome.

Her mother Melanie, 46, of Stowmarket, and father, Richard, 49, are now campaigning for greater awareness of the condition, which takes the lives of more than 600 people a year.

They want to raise £4,000 a year for the Lily Webster Memorial Fund so people aged between 14-35 can be screened for heart conditions.

Last night, the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) praised the initiative, saying it could save lives in the county.

Mrs Webster told the EADT: “It’s very difficult when you lose a loved one, you feel like you do not want someone else to go through it.

“I think if I could do anything to save a child I would. It’s really important for us to do it, we want people to be aware that screening is available, if they do not know it’s there, they will not use it.

“If I had known it had existed I would have wanted my child to use it.

“If we are not screening enough people, we do not know if it’s preventable or not. There’s not the data to make the decision.”

The Websters and their two sons, Jack, 18 and George 13, have all been screened for the heart condition.

The family has raised more than £9,000 so far this year and are working with CRY.

Chief executive of the charity, Alison Cox said: “It takes enormous courage for a family who has been affected by young sudden cardiac death to be able to see beyond their own tragedy and want to raise funds for CRY to help save lives and prevent another family having to suffer in the way they have.”

Mrs Webster said next year’s screening would be in Colchester but wants the annual clinic to eventually be in Stowmarket High School, where Lily was a student.

She said £3,300 is needed just to screen about 100 people a day in a session.

More than 350 friends and family attended Lily’s memorial service in February.

Headteacher at Stowmarket High School, Keith Penn, said Lily was a “lovely, delightful and bright student”.

Students and staff laid bouquets of flowers outside the school’s entrance to the leisure centre.

The family’s fundraising, of which £5,000 was raised when more than 80 members of family and friends went on a sponsored five-mile walk in London, will go towards CRY with the rest of the money for the screening.

Mamma Mia will be screened at the Regal theatre in Stowmarket on Sunday as part of the fundraising drive.

The film will start at 7.20pm on Sunday. Call the Regal on 01449 612825 for tickets.

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