Gifts to cut young cardiac deaths

Joan and Gerry Pybus with their ukuleles at the ready. SG210817-100TW
Joan and Gerry Pybus with their ukuleles at the ready. SG210817-100TW

Ukulele orchestra members hope to play a part in cutting the numbers of young people who die from undiagnosed heart conditions.

Gerry Pybus (70) and wife, Joan (69), are asking family and friends who would normally buy gifts to instead make a donation to CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young) at their golden wedding party on Saturday.

The couple lost their younger son, Stuart (37), in 2011 and want to help the charity in his name.

Joan said: “We ask that people donate on the day and we will send the money to CRY.”

Music will play a part in the celebrations at Surfleet Village Hall because fellow members of the Ukulele Orchestra of Spalding will be among the 120-strong gathering.

The couple joined the orchestra after a performance in Ayscoughfee Gardens.

Joan said: “They were having such a good time and we thought yes, we want some of that.”

Gerry was born at Surfleet and grew up in Cowbit. He became an electrical engineer and worked all over the world, dealing with the commissioning and servicing of generators and all sorts of heavy duty electrical equipment.

Joan was born in Wigtoft and trained as a hairdresser before switching to administration and then shop work.

Their romance began after Gerry walked Joan to her bus in Boston and fixed up a date.

Gerry, who now sadly suffers from Parkinson’s Plus, says their happy marriage is built on “trust for each other”.

Joan says: “We just love each other. We are good friends and we have had a lot of fun times together.”

Shared interests included taking up gliding at Crowland airfield, where Gerry was also a tug pilot.

The couple have family including son Matthew and five grandchildren.

CRY says at least 12 young people die in the UK every single week from an undiagnosed heart problem.

The charity raises awareness of young sudden cardiac death (YSCD), helps families with bereavement services after a tragic death due to YSCD, and offers screening services to young people.

Cry is known worldwide for the research it publishes, which is having an immediate impact on clinical practice.

• Email lynne.harrison@iliffepublishing if you are fundraising for a great cause.