Thousands raised in memory of dad

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Dunmurry man, Jamie English and his family have raised £3,800 for after he decided to take on a super race in memory of his father Tommy.

Tommy passed away suddenly on October 16, 2017. The sudden loss was devastating for his children Jamie and Beth and his wife Jacqui. Unfortunately, the family do not yet know exactly why Tommy died, but Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome has been suggested as a possible cause.

The English Family (L-R) Beth, Tommy, Jacqui and Jamie English.

The English Family (L-R) Beth, Tommy, Jacqui and Jamie English.

Despite all the heartache that they have had to endure, the English Family have been determined to raise as much funds and awareness as possible for the British Heart Foundation. Just a few months on from losing his dad, Jamie and his friend Lewis decided to take on the Spartan Super Race, a 12km obstacle course in Co Kildare in Tommy’s memory.

Their family, loved ones and friends at Lisburn Rangers Football Club all got behind their fundraising efforts and together raised an amazing £3,800 for the charity.

Jamie explained: “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. For this reason, we wanted to support the 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. At this stage, closure is all we ask for.”

Losing Tommy has been extremely difficult for all the family. Jamie continued: “My dad was a big football fan, always the gentleman and he loved AC/DC the rock band. Family was his number one priority in life, he loved myself, mum and Beth more than life itself. He always lent the helping hand helping mum look after her parents when they were unwell - he was just like another son to them.

“Lisburn Rangers Football Club and the people involved with the club were very special to him with 99 per cent of Saturdays involving him and I attending football matches. Portstewart was an important place to him where we went on many family holidays. We had many great fishing experiences and always attended the milk cup football tournament. He would be extremely proud of everyone and how we have carried on with life. He was a huge part of so many people’s lives with enormous numbers being negatively impacted by his loss.

“The key thing for us all now is to cherish all the special times that we spent together and that anyone who met him should be honoured to have encountered such a great man. He truly was an incredible human being and the world is definitely worse without him, we all miss him immensely.”

Karen McCammon, from BHF NI thanked the family for their fundraising efforts during this very difficult time. She said: “The reality is that there are thousands of people across Northern Ireland who are unaware that they could be at risk of sudden death because from the outside they are perfectly healthy. There are people out there who kiss their loved ones goodnight or goodbye in the morning and don’t wake up or don’t come home.

“Thanks to the public’s kind support, BHF-funded researchers have made major discoveries in these frightening heart conditions but we urgently need to fund more research to better understand these heart conditions, make more discoveries, develop new treatments and save more lives.

“We’d like to extend our sincere thanks to Jamie, his family and all his dad’s loved ones and friends at Lisburn Rangers Football Club for the support they have given BHF NI in memory of Tommy. The amazing amount raised shows just how well thought of he was. Our thoughts will be with them all as they continue to try to deal with such an immense loss.”

Jamie concluded by thanking everyone who has supported the family and helped with the fundraising drive. “My family and I never in a million years thought we would have been faced with this nightmare at this stage of our lives,” he said. “The worrying fact is, these conditions can simply emerge and can happen to anyone, and unfortunately in this case it was my dad.

“I am proud however to support such important research and my mum, sister and I cannot thank everyone who donated enough.”