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Community / Heart screening fundraiser closes in on target

A toddler cycle and walk in Gulberwick was held on Monday morning to raise money for the campaign.

A FUNDRAISING campaign to bring free heart screening events for young people to Shetland is edging closer its initial £25,000 target.

Following a sponsored toddler cycle and walk in Gulberwick this morning (Monday), Shetland Heart Screening’s total now sits at over £23,000 after less than six months of fundraising.

The group was formed earlier this year by Siobhan Pirie from Gulberwick, whose husband John Pirie (PJ) unexpectedly passed away in 2017 at the age of just 29 after suffering a cardiac arrest.

Siobhan Pirie and PJ with their children Merran and Steven. Photo: Odd Poppy Photography

She started looking into ways to offer a free heart screening for everyone in Shetland aged between 14 and 35 in memory of her husband.

The charity Cardiac Risk in the Young has now given the green light for its screening events to come to Shetland, but funds need to be in place for this to happen.

A number of fundraising events has been held for Shetland Heart Screening in recent months in addition to money that has come in through online donations, with concerts, buffets and head shaves all helping the cause.

At the weekend a massive £5,092.45 was raised thanks to a Sunday teas and a rather impressive raffle at the Gulberwick Hall.

Over £2,000, meanwhile, has been raised so far from the toddler cycle and walk.

Siobhan said the team behind Shetland Heart Screening – which also includes Kim Pirie, Andrea Laurenson, Fern Johnson and Maura Gray – initially expected to raise £25,000 within two years.

“This total of £25,000 was going to be enough to guarantee two lots of screening, in 2021 and 2023, so to reach that in less than six months is overwhelming and something we never expected,” she said.

“Once we reach the target we won’t just be stopping either. We will keep raising money in order to allow the screenings to keep happening for years to come.”

Siobhan added that the group hopes to have a date set for the first batch of screenings in 2021 in the near future.