Sunderland Cardiac Support Group celebrates 20 years of supporting heart patients

Barry Cook, Robert Craggs, Lillian Stokoe and Jim Baker from the Sunderland Cardiac Support Group who are marking the organisation's 20th anniversary.

Barry Cook, Robert Craggs, Lillian Stokoe and Jim Baker from the Sunderland Cardiac Support Group who are marking the organisation's 20th anniversary.

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A SUPPORT network which has helped scores of Wearsiders recovering from serious heart scares has celebrated its 20th anniversary.

Sunderland Cardiac Support Group has also rejoiced at being awarded £7,450 from the Big Lottery to continue its good work.

The organisation has scooped numerous awards, including a Community Group of the Year honour at the 2009 Pride of Wearside ceremony.

Secretary Barry Cook, who suffered a life-threatening heart attack on holiday more than a decade ago, says the group provided a lifeline for him following the scare.

“I was working in a stressful job at the time I had the heart attack and my wife didn’t want me to go back.”

The 66-year-old, of High Barnes, added: “Joining the support group helped me tremendously.

“If I hadn’t joined something like this, I would probably still be sitting at home twiddling my thumbs and that wouldn’t suit me.”

From humble beginnings, members of the group decided to create an exercise class in 1998 as part of the support group sessions.

Now, three classes are held each week, with between 20 and 30 members attending each session. The support group has moved from Crowtree Leisure Centre to the exercise suite at the Seaburn Centre. For details about the group, call 565 6892.