Local Dad pays tribute to son with Kent Cricket shirt partnership

Monday 23rd September 2013

Men’s First Team

Paul Daniels from Bickley has become Kent Cricket’s latest shirt partner – in tribute to his son Ben, an aspiring cricketer who died suddenly in 2011 at the age of 15.

In collaboration with leading heart charity, CRY (Cardiac Risk in the Young), Paul has become the shirt partner of Kent Cricket’s Calum Haggett, who himself received life-saving open heart surgery when the charity detected an abnormality during a routine scan.

Paul’s son Ben Daniels, who played for Old Elthamians Cricket Club in Chislehurst, collapsed without warning whilst playing football with his EXBlues FC teammates on March 5th 2011. Despite the heroic efforts of his coach, team mates, paramedics and the staff at St Thomas’ Hospital, he passed away three days later on March 8th.

Paul and his wife, Helena founded a special fund in memory of their son, the Ben Daniels Memorial Fund (BDMF), and have been raising funds alongside the CRY charity since then. Paul hopes that his shirt partnership will help raise funds and awareness of CRY among young people and the sporting community.

Thanks to the support of friends, family and the local community the Ben Daniels Memorial Fund has raised over £80,000 (of an initial target of £100,000) and has tested around 400 young people at a number of screenings held over the past two years at local sports clubs and at Ben’s former school, Raven’s Wood in Bromley, Kent.

Kent County Cricket Club has a close affiliation with the BDMF and CRY; the BDMF was launched by Kent cricketer Adam Ball. Former Kent Cricket captain, Rob Key is associated with the CRY charity, having become a Patron of the charity following the sudden death of his good friend, Ben Simpson from an undiagnosed heart condition in 2005.

Paul Daniels commented on the shirt partnership; “Supporting Calum is another important milestone for Ben’s Fund and is a fitting and very special tribute to Ben – who was so passionate about cricket. He was such a role model and team player – and is still so missed by his former school friends and team mates. We just knew we had to do something positive in his memory.

“I can’t thank our friends, neighbours and Ben’s friends enough for their efforts and energy in helping us to raise funds. We’re also so grateful to Kent County Cricket Club for allowing us to support Calum as his shirt partner and, in turn, to him too for helping to raise awareness of CRY and the importance of screening by talking about his own, personal story.”

In June, over 100 young cricketers, including members of Kent Cricket’s Development Squad were tested at a CRY screening at the Old Elthamians Cricket Club, Chislehurst in Kent, sponsored by the Ben Daniels Memorial Fund; something which is likely to be repeated in 2014.

Calum, who recently extended his contract at Kent County Cricket Club, commented; “The CRY charity (Cardiac Risk in the Young) is something close to me; they helped me and they do really great work with young people.

“It’s great to help get their message across to young people who can then benefit as I have. I am honoured that the BDMF and CRY have chosen to support me and have extended their partnership into 2014, and I hope that I can assist with raising awareness of heart conditions.”

Young people and cardiac risk

Every week, 12 young people (aged 35 and under) lose their lives to sudden cardiac death in the UK – a statistic that is believed to be a conservative estimate. It is now widely accepted that testing saves lives, reinforcing the importance of the CRY screening programme, which now tests over 12,000 young people each year.

Dr Steve Cox, Director of Screening at CRY, comments; “A staggering 80% of these apparently healthy young people who die from young sudden cardiac death will have shown no previous sign of heart defects until it is too late.

“Sport itself does not cause the problems that lead to sudden cardiac death – but it can exacerbate an existing undiagnosed condition and those at highest risk of such conditions are young people.”

CRY tests many of the leading UK athletes. This includes the vast majority of the Olympic Athletes, ‘Team GB’, Football Teams such as Manchester City, England Cricket, The LTA, RFU and SKY Cycling to name just a few.

CRY's Consultant Cardiologist is the leading Sports Cardiologist in the UK, and recognised as one of the leading experts for Young Sudden Cardiac Death worldwide. He makes no charge for supervising the CRY screening programme. With Professor Sharma's support CRY is able to subsidise the programme so that each appointment only costs £35. Privately these tests could cost in excess of £100, just for the ECG and consultation.