Sunderland Cardiac Support Group nominated for Pride of Wearside award

Barry Cook with members of the Sunderland Cardiac Support Group, Mary Pearson, and John and Sheila Jurgens keeping active at the Seaburn Centre.

Barry Cook with members of the Sunderland Cardiac Support Group, Mary Pearson, and John and Sheila Jurgens keeping active at the Seaburn Centre.

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BOSSES at a heart health community group which has provided a lifeline to hundreds of people say they are “honoured” to once again be nominated for the Pride of Wearside awards.

Sunderland Cardiac Support Group has helped countless people who have heart problems since its inception two decades ago.

It is in the running for the Community Group prize at the awards night later this month, which honours the unsung heroes of our community.

The organisation has been nominated for the title three times and won it in 2009.

Secretary Barry Cook, 66, said today: “It’s fantastic news. It’s always an honour to be nominated for the awards.

“Our members who come along on the night always have a really good time.”

Members, many of who suffer from serious heart conditions, meet a number of times each week to take part in exercise classes as well as social events.

“We’ve got a lot of members who have been with us for a long time. We’ve even got some who are in their 80s now.”

Barry has held the position of secretary for five years and has been a member of the group for a decade. He joined after suffering a heart attack aged 55 while on holiday, and decided to take early retirement.

The group met at Crowtree Leisure Centre for many years, but since its closure now meets in the Seaburn Centre.

“It’s been a difficult past few months because a lot of people who would like to come to our classes can’t, because they’d have to get two buses,” added Barry, of Barnes.

“A lot of it also depends on what the weather is like.

“But soon we are hoping to move back to a location which is more central in the city and that should bring back more members who can’t make it out of the town centre.” The categories for this year’s Pride awards are: Child of Achievement, Community Champion, Child of Courage, Safer Community, Sporting Achievement, Community Group, Fundraiser of the Year, Local Hero/Role Model, Green Champion and Student of the Year.

Echo editor John Szymanski will also choose an individual or group who has appeared in the paper over the past 12 months to receive a special Editor’s Award.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony at the Stadium of Light on Wednesday, November 20. Nomination entries for the awards have now closed.