THE family and friends of a superfit St Helens teen who died in his sleep are organising a special fundraising event in a bid to have defibrillators placed in local schools.
Connor Ashton passed away in February and is believed to have been a victim of Sudden Arrhythmic Death syndrome (SADs) – a condition linked to an undetected heart problem, which strikes without warning.
The 17-year-old, of Lee Street, Sutton, an amateur footballer with Clock Face, may not have been helped by a defibrillator - but mum Joanne says their presence in schools, colleges and fitness centres could save lives.
She said: “It’s shocking that the screening process and the number of defibrillators in schools and colleges differs depending on which area of the country you live in. That could be the difference between life and death.
“Firstly, we want to raise enough money to have defibrillators brought in to Connor’s old school, St Cuthbert’s, and at the Technology College where he was studying joinery. They cost between £1,200 and £1,800 each.
“After that, we’d like to spread the net as far as we possibly can. With the help of the SADs UK charity, we’re also going to petition Downing Street on the issue.”
A fundraising memorial evening is set to be held in Connor’s honour at Sutton Cricket Club this Saturday (July 21).
And Joanne says Connor’s brother, Daniel, and cousin, Vicky, have been particularly instrumental in the fundraising drive so far.
Event organiser Barbara Smith said: “The evening is being held not only to remember and celebrate Connor’s life but also to raise awareness of SADs. There will a disco, live music and an auction to help raise vital funds for SADs UK.
“We have a rugby ball signed by the Saints squad, a painting by local artist Steve Beales - also signed by the Saints players - a family day pass for the World of Glass and £40 vouchers for the Heir Rooms, to name just a few.
“It’s a silent auction so, for anyone who wants to make a bid, the items are on display at the Heir Rooms on Ellamsbridge Road, Sutton.”
A fundraising fun day will also be held in Connor’s memory at Smithy Manor on August 26.