Family helps others after Jamie’s sudden death

Lucy Playford (centre) with brother Jamie and their mum Jenny SUS-150616-123214001
Lucy Playford (centre) with brother Jamie and their mum Jenny SUS-150616-123214001

The sister and family of a man who died from Sudden Adult Death Syndrome raised thousands of pounds to bring a screening unit to Hastings to help prevent others loosing their lives in the same way.

Lucie Playford’s brother, Jamie Clarke, died suddenly in his sleep from Sudden Adult Death Syndrome (SADS) on December 13, 2009, aged 31.

Lucie said the night before he died he’d been out for dinner with his wife and friends. “He went to bed that night fit and healthy, as far we knew, but at 6am the next morning, he started fitting and was pronounced dead,” she said.

“He never woke up. His heart just stopped.”

Jamie’s death was found to be due to SADS and Lucie said despite hers, and her family’s, grief she wanted to do something to help prevent others from suffering the same fate. In 2011 Team Clarko was formed and they swam the Great London Swim raising £3,000 for the charity CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young) which went into a memorial fund for Jamie.

Last year Team Clarko took on the National 3 Peaks, raising around £10,000. Lucie said: “With this money I wanted to get a mobile screening unit down to Hastings for the day to help detect any undiagnosed heart conditions.

“This cost £8,500. We had a lot of help and Hastings Round Table donated £2,500. We contacted CRY and booked the unit for May 23. There were 100 appointments between 9-4 which ‘sold’ out in an hour through my Facebook page!”

Doctors and nurses set up the CRY mobile unit at ARK Little Ridge Primary, where Lucie works as a Higher Level Teaching Assistant. Lucie said she was overwhelmed by the response: “One hundred and twenty people from Hastings and Rother were screened that day - seven ended up being referred with undetected heart conditions! Just amazing! I wanted to do this to stop other families going through the same devastation that my family’s been through.”