Father gearing up for latest fundraiser in memory of James

THE father of James Haggerty, who died last March aged 13, sets off today on a four-day charity bike ride in memory of his son.

Russell Haggerty, of Cooden Drive, has been organising the trip since last year.

Around 33 friends and colleagues will join him for the 150-odd mile trip from Battle Abbey to Lille, France.

Sign up to our daily SussexWorld Today newsletter

"I've done the London to Brighton and the London to Cambridge in preparation," said Russell, who with his fellow cyclists has so far raised around 5,000 for Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY).

"This is all about trying to make people aware. I'm trying to say to people, have a look on CRY's website. Think about taking an ECG test.

"Think about getting you or your child checked out."

James Haggerty collapsed while playing with friends last year, and a post mortem examination revealed he had ALCAPA - a rare congenital heart condition.

After his death, Russell and wife Jackie launched a fundraising campaign, and have tirelessly promoted awareness of heart conditions in the young.

Asked how he and Jackie have coped, Russell, who is considering helping others through bereavement counselling, said: "We manage.

"That's about it, really.

"Every day things come to your mind. It's never, ever going to be the same."

The family aims to raise 13,500 with this latest venture - enough to fund a two-day visit to Bexhill from a mobile scanning unit and a team of doctors.

For more information, or to donate money to the Haggertys, visit www.justgiving.com/jameshaggerty

For information about CRY, and ECG testing programmes, visit www.c-r-y.org.uk