The parents of a young man who died from a sudden heart condition over 20 years ago are proud to be hosting a fundraiser this Sunday May 19th in his memory – and in aid of the charity, Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY).

Graham Mark Courtney died suddenly at the age of 20 in December 1998, from an undetected heart rhythm condition, whilst studying at the University of Essex.  Graham’s tragic death devastated his family and caused shockwaves throughout the local community. At the time of his passing, young sudden cardiac death (YSCD) was poorly understood and comparatively unknown, with families often desperately searching for answers. CRY, itself, was founded in 1995, just 3 years before Graham’s death.

However, more than two decades on, it is a widely acknowledged fact that every week in the UK around 12 young people (under the age of 35) die suddenly from a previously undiagnosed heart condition. 80% of these deaths will occur with no prior symptoms, which is why CRY believes proactive cardiac screening is so important. As such, the charity’s pioneering screening programme has developed rapidly and is now testing over 30,000 young people every year.

The “Young at Heart” event has been devised by Graham’s parents, Rick and Joyce Courtney, with help from Andrew and Catherine Courtney. Admission is free but a suggested donation of £5 each is requested.

 7 artistes will be giving their time to perform for free, including; Martyn Paddon, compere and singer; Harrison, a young singer; Vic Baulton, Liverpool comic; Riviera Ukulele Band; Crooked Tempo Samba Band; Twinflame, Crystal Thorne’s singing duo; and 5 – piece band Pendulum 5 – Roger Allen will be taking over the drum throne from Dave during their set, to perform a “Sponsored Drum Solo” to add to the fund-raising efforts !

The posters (see attached) have been created by Rick and Joyce’s son, Andrew. Since his older brother’s death, Andrew has been regularly tested and monitored through the family’s involvement with CRY – which is one of the many reasons that local friends are so keen to help “give something back.”

Andrew will also be using social media to profile and feature the artists in the lead up to the event.

Rick says; “Joyce and I will be delighted to welcome all visitors to the event, to share a fun afternoon of music and comedy at the Redcliffe Hotel on Paignton sea front – a wonderful setting for an afternoon filled with entertainment, in memory of Graham and to help CRY in their screening, research and bereavement support.”

To date, CRY Screening has tested well over 180,000 young people, resulting in 100s of potentially life-threatening conditions being identified. The programme (supervised by Professor Sanjay Sharma, the leading Sports Cardiologist in the UK and one of the leading experts YSCD worldwide) continues to grow annually. 

An ECG (electrocardiogram) test is used, as a simple way to identify the vast majority of abnormalities that can cause sudden deaths in young people. The test is quick, non-invasive and painless and, if necessary, a further echocardiogram (ultrasound scan of the heart) can be taken on the same day to provide further clarity or reassurance.

Chief Executive of CRY, Dr. Steven Cox, adds: “All of CRY’s unique services – whether screening, research or bereavement support – are funded through the inspiring and tireless fundraising efforts of families who have suffered the tragic and sudden loss of a child, sibling or partner. I find it so humbling that families, such as Rick, Joyce and Andrew are able to see beyond their own horrendous experience to raise funds and awareness for CRY, playing a vital part in preventing other families from having to endure the same devastating grief as they have. 

 “This fantastic event will really help raise awareness and funds and I would like to thank everyone involved. I hope it’s a great day.”

Over £400 value of raffle prizes have been donated by Torbay Leisure Centre, Palace Theatre, Babbacombe Theatre, Morrisons, B & Q, Otter Garden Centre, Bays Brewery, Sound and Vision, Waitrose, AMF Bowling Alley in Torquay….and many more! A bar will be open for bar snacks at lunchtime, and all afternoon for hot and cold drinks, ….and delicious Devon Cream Teas.


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