Fundraiser in memory of Pagham man's son raises over £100,000 for heart charity
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Don Hoare's fundraising efforts began in 2011 after his 18-year-old son, Daniel, died while running to catch a train at West Worthing station. He was subsequently found to have a heart condition called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), which can cause a cardiac arrest and sudden death.
"It was a bombshell; I was in a complete state of shock and disbelief," recalls Don. "You don't want to believe the news, but you know there's no reason for anybody to invent the news.
"West Worthing Station was immediately bedecked with flowers and good wishes and I was getting messages from people I hadn't seen for years. I was very moved by way the local community really rallied round."
Following his son's tragic death, Don was approached by members of the Bognor Regis Golf Club, where he and his son both played, to put on a fundraising golf day. Don, the landlord of The Lamb Inn in Pagham, had few expectations for the event. However, since then, the Daniel Hoare Memorial Golf Day has become an annual fixture in the local golfing calendar.
Don said: "In the early days, I did wonder if it would be a bit of a one or two-hit wonder. But it's just kept going, and that's down to some very good friends of Daniel’s who have continued to support it over many years.
"None of this would have been possible without the support of the management, committee and members of the Bognor Regis Golf Club. I really can't thank everyone enough for the way they have backed this fundraising campaign.
"These funds will help the BHF continue the exploration of heart conditions. Things have moved on spectacularly in the last years. I've been fortunate enough to visit Southampton University and see that work firsthand. Moving the research forward is why we started fundraising."
In the UK, about 1 in 500 people have HCM. The BHF has funded research into the condition for many decades. In 2016, the charity launched a fund to help make genetic screening for the condition available. And, in 2021, BHF-funded scientists identified further genetic faults that made people susceptible to the disease.
Helen Smith, BHF Fundraising Manager, said: "Don and all those who've helped to raise money in Daniel's memory should be incredibly proud of what they have achieved.
"In the wake of a truly awful tragedy, they have dedicated their time and effort to helping others over so many years. It's a very humbling and inspiring story.
"The amount they have raised has gone a long way to helping continue vital lifesaving research into heart and circulatory diseases.”