Gavin Curwen was just 40 years old when he tragically passed away back in February of this year. Gavin died after collapsing and in his post mortem was found to have coronary artery atherosclerosis. He was a much loved member of the Wath Brow Hornets family the NCL Premier side based up in West Cumbria. He played a huge part in the success the club has had over the last 20 years being a player and most recently as Assistant coach to the club’s first team.
The first screening day in conjunction with the foundation set up in his honour – “The Gavin Curwen Foundation”, Danny Jones Defibrillator Fund and Welsh Heart Screening was a success with 84 members of Wath Brow Hornets teams, coaches and local community being screened.
When speaking about the event Wath Brow head coach Ian Rooney spoke emotionally saying “If one person can be helped we have some positive out of the tragedy which was an horrendous blow for this club. Gavin would have loved that and it’s important that we do it for his family and the club. We all wish we still had the big man here but that’s not to be so we keep his legacy going.” Rooney further thanked local amateur club Hensingham who raised nearly £1000 for the Foundation the previous weekend.
Lizzie Jones attended the event, Lizzie the partner of Danny Jones the Keighley Cougars half back who passed away back in May 2015. Danny collapsed and suffered a cardiac arrest after feeling unwell in a game v London Skolars. A post mortem revealed Danny had an previously unknown hereditary heart disease. The loss of Danny shocked the Rugby League Family into grief and mourning. He left behind Lizzie and twins Bobby & Phoebe who were just five months old at the time of his tragic passing.
Recently Lizzie has launched the Danny Jones Defibrillator fund which has the aim “to raise funds for equipment that could prove the difference between life and death at Rugby League clubs across the UK.” Speaking at the event Lizzie talked about the Screening and what occurs.
“Everyone has a ECG, if anything flags up from that they then go on to have an echocardiogram which is an x-ray of the heart. We have a specialist consultant on board to talk to everyone despite whether the results flag up any issues or not.” Lizzie further added that at an event at Waterhead ARL in Oldham that a gentleman was sent straight to hospital following a screening, the tests gave the man the all clear but Lizzie hopes that this shows how screening can save a a someone’s life.
“To hold one of these days costs about £6000 and the charity will contribute as much as they can with the club supporting the rest. Grants are available for everyone and not just a few clubs. If you are interested in holding one of the days please get in touch whether you are a club or a school or a local community.”
The Rugby League Family has embraced Lizzie Jones and she has been involved at a number of major RL events including an emotional rendition of Abide With Me at the 2015 Challenge Cup final and singing Danny Boy at BBC Sports Personality of the Year in the same year.
Speaking about the day “Its awful that something tragic has got to happen before something like this happens both me and Gavin’s parents has felt that but that’s the way it is but so much good is coming from it which is all you can hope for when you lose somebody, hearing someone was saved just last week at out first screening day sent shivers down my spine. Its wonderful that Danny’s memory and legacy is literally saving lives.”
For any information about the Danny Jones Defib Fund visit https://www.dannyjonesdefibfund.co.uk/
For any information about the Gavin Curwen Foundation contact Wath Brow Hornets