After months of planning and fund-raising, Tuesday saw an idea become a reality as Bridlington held its first Heart Screening Day.
The event, which saw around 100 people aged between 14 and 35 tested for undiagnosed heart conditions, is set to become an annual date in the town’s calendar.
Fund-raising efforts have taken off so successfully that two days have been booked for next year’s screening. The project was the idea of a team of workers who worked at Bridlington’s former Marks & Spencer store, who were prompted to act after the death of James Moorfoot.
James was a teacher at Hornsea School, who died while playing football for Langtoft last year. A number of his former team-mates were among those who were tested at Tuesday’s event at Bridlington Club For Young People.
Ed Woodmansey, captain of the Langtoft team, said: “We all miss Morph so much, he was a great friend and a huge part of our lives. The support for the screening day has been overwhelming.
“It means so much for something so positive to happen in James’s memory. We are so grateful for everyone who has fund-raised, donated or raised awareness, made all the easier by the person James was.”
Following the death of the 28-year-old, the M&S colleagues set about raising £5,000 to bring in a team of doctors and support staff to screen 50 local people.
The Have A Heart, Save A Life campaign was officially launched in the Free Press in March.
Gail Slater, one of the team behind the project, said: “We sat in a cafe in January and thought of the idea, but we never thought it would turn into this. We have been blown away.
“The people of Bridlington and the surrounding area have been so supportive.
“If this stops one person going through what James’ friends and family have been through, it will have been worth it.
“The fund-raising has been fun, even though it has been hard work, but the screening day is the reality and it is serious.
“Ideally, we want everybody to get the all-clear but if not, and somebody has a problem, the fact we have detected it is a positive too.
“We have had a lot of James’ friends here but also some complete strangers.”
Tuesday was an emotional day at the sports centre in Gypsey Road with pictures of James pinned up on the walls and young men and women waiting nervously for their turn to be tested.
People from the Bridlington sporting community were among those tested, alongside pupils from a number of local secondary schools.
David Stamper, assistant associate headteacher at Headlands School, volunteered to be screened and was joined by five students to be part of the project too.
He said: “Headlands and myself personally are very proud to be supporting the heart screening in Bridlington.
“It resonated with me initially because I am a similar age to James and played football against him and I am also a teacher.
“When I learnt more about the screening I soon realised the importance of raising the awareness to Headlands School students as well so it was powerful to share the moment with some of them on the day.
“Thankfully for all of us, the results were good and the initial nerves were soon calmed because the process was so quick and easy.
“I would certainly recommend the screening to anyone and Headlands will continue to support and promote the Bridlington Heart Screening days because it is such a brilliant thing.”
The screening day will be extended to two days next year and will be held on August 6 and 7.
That is thanks to the proceeds of a charity football match last month.
Former Bridlington Town and Hull City goalkeeper Gavin Kelly got team-mates from the two clubs to get back on the pitch and play a match at Queensgate.
Money taken to the turnstiles, added to advertising in the matchday programme, the proceeds of an auction and a £1,000 donation from PBS Construction, meant the day raised a stunning £9,281.
That allowed the team to start work on bringing in money for a fourth screening day in 2020.
“It was an amazing day,” said Gail.