Sunderland volunteers hailed as unsung heroes

MEMBERS of the Sunderland Cardiac Support Group get down to some exercise. Photograph by Rebecca Dono
MEMBERS of the Sunderland Cardiac Support Group get down to some exercise. Photograph by Rebecca Dono
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CHARITY volunteers have been hailed as unsung heroes for the way they help heart patients on the path to recovery.

The praise for the Sunderland Cardiac Support Group came on the day it was nominated for a Best of Wearside award.

Barry Cook from the Sunderland Cardiac Support Group.

Barry Cook from the Sunderland Cardiac Support Group.

All its work is done by a team of volunteers, all former cardiac patients themselves.

Now it is a thriving group with more than 150 members and has been described by one member as “helping people to get on with their lives”.

Group member Margaret Cook, whose husband Barry is the secretary and had a heart attack 12 years ago, said: “This is a really busy organisation and not just for patients. It is for the families as well. It is all-round support.”

Barry said it would be lovely if the organisation was to win an honour.

The group’s huge range of activities includes Active at 60 sessions, coach trips and a walking group.

The Active at 60 sessions are held on three mornings each week with trained cardiac instructors. The group raise money itself to pay for equipment such as treadmills.

Sunderland Cardiac Support Group was formed in 1993 by six heart patients who met in a small room in Sunderland Royal Hospital.

It has already enjoyed winning an Echo title before, lifting the community group of the year category in our awards five years ago, and is hoping for more success.

One nomination came from a member who said: “Coronary heart disease affects a huge number of people in the North-East and I believe they have helped me on the road to recovery.

“I have nominated them in the past without success and I hope they get the recognition and publicity they deserve.”

The awards, which are held in association with Gentoo, will culminate in a grand finale at the Stadium of Light on Wednesday, November 19.

For now, though, we want you to get in touch to tell us about your very own heroes before the closing date for nominations early next month.

All you need to do is fill in the nomination form on this page or visit the Sunderland Echo website at www.sunderlandecho.com and fill in the online application form.