Police and firefighters take part in annual football match

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This weekend, members of Stornoway’s Emergency Services will be taking to the pitch in their annual charity ‘grudge match’ – which has become a hugely popular event for residents and the local community over the past six years.

This ‘famous friendly’ between the Police and Retained fire service is a great local spectacle and good for community moral as well as having raised in excess of £12,000 for many worthwhile local charities.

The match will coincide with Cardiac Risk in the Young’s (CRY) heart screening in the area that will take place on August 29th and 30th in Stornoway at Nicolson Institute School, Stornoway which will give young people, aged between 14 and 35, the opportunity to be tested. CRY is the leading heart charity.

This year, all funds raised from the match will go to the Andrew Macleod Memorial charity. All monies raised will remain local in the Western Isles and used to fund further specialist screenings in the future for young people in the area as well as raising awareness of this silent killer.

Every week in the UK, 12 young (that is, aged 35 and under) people die suddenly from a previously undiagnosed heart condition. 80% of these young people have no signs or symptoms, so the only way to detect a potentially sinister cardiac abnormality is through screening.

Organiser, Craig Allan, said: “This year, we have decided to donate all proceeds from the match to the charity, CRY, in memory of local man, Andrew Macleod, who died from a previously undiagnosed heart condition, known as dilated cardiomyopathy, in October 2011 aged just 21. His sudden death devastated his family as well as the entire community but his parents, Murdo and Dolina, received great help and support from CRY so we are all delighted to be able to give something back.”

On the Match day there will be music from Crazy Carl from Isles FM, bouncy castles for the kids, mobile catering to provide food and drink and a kids football event before the big kick off. Former Glasgow Rangers, Hearts and Scotland football Star Dave Macpherson will also be making an appearance to help with the kid’s football and also to manage the police team with the aim of getting them back to winning ways.

CRY’s pioneering screening programme now tests over 14,000 young people every year. Although screening will not identify all those at risk, in Italy, where screening is mandatory for all young people engaged in organised sport, the incidence of young sudden cardiac death has been reduced by 90%. Whilst sport does not actually cause sudden cardiac death, it can significantly increase a young person’s risk if they have an underlying condition. CRY also offers a specialist Bereavement Support Programme, providing telephone support through volunteers who have suffered the sudden cardiac death of a child, sibling or partner and who received two years of counselling training.

CRY’s Chief Executive and Founder, Alison Cox MBE adds: “It’s wonderful to see yet more support from the people of Scotland and we are hugely grateful to the emergency services in Stornoway for donating the proceeds of this annual event - which sounds great fun! - to CRY ! Ongoing, local support such as this will be immensely helpful and comforting for the Macleod family who – like all of those who have been bereaved from a young, sudden cardiac death - have been through a devastating and tragic experience.”

“On behalf of us all at CRY, I would like to say a huge ‘thank you’ to everyone involved!”