Jamie goes the extra mile in memory of dad

A Dunmurry man and his friends and family have raised over £12,000 virtually running the length of Ireland for British Heart Foundation Northern Ireland (BHF NI) in memory of his father.

Thursday, 10th June 2021, 11:01 am
Dunmurry man Jamie English, together with friends and family, completed a virtual run in aid of the British Heart Foundation

Jamie English, members of the Level Up Coaching Academy and his friends and family covered the total distance from Malin Head in Co Donegal to Brow Head in Co Cork a distance of over 300 miles on Easter Sunday.

On the day, they managed to cover almost double this target by completing a combined distance of over 500 miles in 24 hours.

The marathon fundraising effort was in memory of Jamie’s dad, Tommy English, who died suddenly on October 16. 2017 following a suspected cardiac arrest. The sudden loss was devastating for Jamie, his sister Beth, their mum Jacqui and all those associated with Tommy’s beloved family and football club, Lisburn Rangers.

Jamie said they are overwhelmed to have raise so much money to fund heart research. “We can hardly believe we have raised so much money for BHF NI,” he said. “We’re really overwhelmed and grateful for all the support.

“Running on Easter Sunday was tough going but it was a brilliant day. In total there were about 50 people virtually running the length of Ireland and all in all we ran over 500 miles on the day. The level of support has just been amazing.

“I’m really grateful to my coach Ben Heron, the members of the Level Up Academy and all their friends and family who have all been fantastic in their support. My family and I have to thank everyone who donated or contributed in anyway from the bottom of our hearts, the generosity has been truly overwhelming.”

Unfortunately, the family do not yet know exactly why Tommy died, but Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome has been suggested as a possible cause. Since Tommy’s death, his children Jamie and Beth have undergone extensive screening and testing for inherited heart conditions.

All tests have shown them to be clear of any conditions, however, they are still coping with the fact that they still have no conclusive reason as to why their dad is no longer with them.

An active member of Lisburn Rangers Football Club, Tommy loved football and spending time with his family.

“We lost my dad to a suspected heart defect, however this has yet to be confirmed. Unfortunately, the current technologies available are unable to provide my family with a definitive answer,” said Jamie.

“For this reason, we wanted to support British Heart Foundation to help fund their continued research into diagnosing and preventing heart conditions. We hope that someday we will be provided with an explanation as to why my dad was taken from us. But we want to do all we can to fund that lifesaving research as well as prevent other families from experiencing a similar tragedy.”

Head of BHF NI Fearghal McKinney said it is thanks to fearless fundraisers like Jamie and his friends that the charity can fund lifesaving research. “Jamie and his family and friends have raised an incredible amount of money to fund our life saving research,” he said. “In a really difficult year they made their running efforts virtual and we are really grateful and privileged to receive their support.”