Hockwold mother unveils new defibrillator in son’s memory

A mother has vowed to keep raising funds for more life-saving equipment after unveiling a third defibrillator in memory of her son who died of sudden adult death syndrome.

Joe Riley was a healthy 15-year-old who dropped down dead after suffering a rare heart condition during a holiday in America six years ago.

The student's death spurred his mum, Annette Drake, to start fundraising for SADS UK - a charity set up to prevent premature sudden cardiac death.

The 44-year-old, unveiled her third defibrillator on Tuesday after working with the cardiac charity to get more life-saving equipment in public places.

The defibrillator, which has been placed on the wall outside Methwold Fire Station, comes after similar devices were installed at Methwold High School and Feltwell Surgery.

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Miss Drake, who lives in Hockwold, near Thetford, said she had so far raised around �20,000 for the charity by organising fun days and summer balls for SADS UK. She added that she would continue to raise money to help save lives and raise awareness of sudden adult death syndrome.

Joe was on holiday with his family in Florida in August 2005 when he collapsed in his hotel room and paramedics were unable to revive him. An inquest heard that he had died of SADS - a mystery condition which could have been caused by a rare genetic problem with his heart. The 15-year-old was a talented drummer and attended Methwold High School.

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Miss Drake, who works as a dispenser at the Feltwell Surgery, said the two defibrillators already installed had saved the life of a patient at the doctors' surgery and a teacher at Methwold High.

'My son was here one minute and gone the next. They found absolutely nothing wrong with him at Joe's inquest and it is quite hard for a parent when they are not here any more. You can not screen everyone, but you can be aware of the signs of dizziness and faintness,'

'I think at first I was at a loss as to what to do and as time went on, I felt that if I did not do anything, it felt like he died for nothing. It is nice to do something for Joe and my family and friends are supportive every year. If it saves one person's life, it is worth it,' she said.

SADS UK aims to save lives by providing information, funding research and medical equipment to prevent sudden cardiac deaths and train people to use the defibrillators.

For more information visit www.sadsuk.org.uk

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