Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Brighton Rocks!

Mike Knapton, our Associate Medical Director, joined our advocacy team Julia, Gillian and Katie in Brighton this week at the annual Labour party conference.

A late night at the main health hotel reception saw our crack team of lobbyists discuss Dodgeball and our policies on physical activity with MPs including Andy Burnham, Secretary of State for Health.

The next day was just as busy, with Mike and the team meeting Health Minister Ann Keen MP. She expressed a clear commitment to addressing CVD over the next ten years, and invited the BHF to continue to push hard on cardiac rehab.

Julia and Katie also buttonholed Lord Mandelson on cigarette vending machines as he made for the lift after finishing a cup of tea. He knew all about the BHF’s campaign even if he is against a full ban!

The Guardian’s political editor Michael White introduced our fringe meeting with the Stroke Association and Marie Curie Cancer Care by introducing "the 3 top killers and an MP".

Mike had a lively discussion with a supportive audience, stressing the importance of prevention and highlighting BHF Hearty Lives programme.

All in all, a profitable trip to the seaside!

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Sven unveils his latest signing

Former England and Man City manager Sven Goran Eriksson, now at Notts County, has given his backing to the BHF North region events team - and is encouraging people in Nottinghamshire to sign up for the Robin Hood Bike Ride.

Director of Football Sven is calling on modern day Robin Hoods to take part in the event, and was happy to pose with some of the regional team at the Meadow Lane stadium.

Sven said: “I am really pleased to be giving my backing to such a fantastic Nottinghamshire event.

"Heart disease is the UK’s biggest killer and can affect anybody and keeping fit is a way of helping to look after your own heart.

"I hope that Notts County fans will sign up to this event and help the British Heart Foundation raise much needed funds
so they can continue doing a great job.”

The 36-mile off road cycle takes place on Sunday 1 November in Sherwood Forest and Clumber Pines.

For more information about the event or to sign up, visit, email or phone 0800 085 2280.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Yoobots are back!

But this time they are not alone...

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

How Huw donated himself to the BHF

Tune in to C4 for The Secret Millionaire at 9pm tonight, and before the show watch one of our supporters Huw Roberts (pictured right) talking about the BHF!

Huw will appear in a Vodafone Foundation Donate Yourself ad, which asked members of the public which charity they support.

Huw is a key volunteer from Cardiff, and raised over £6000 for the BHF after completing a 70-mile pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Spain.

His drive to fundraise for the BHF came after his father was fitted with a pacemaker.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

The latest from our heart blogger Leanne...

"I think I have gone from six nights a week of going out having fun to lasting six hours before I need a nap - and that’s without a night out or a day at uni.

"Either way I knew it was for the best to head home as my health was slightly more important that seeing Radiohead. And I needed to get over the traumatic experience of being crushed against a burger van by about 100 bored festival goers."

Leanne (pictured above right) is 21 and has a congenital heart condition. She's currently waiting to undergo a heart valve operation.

The passage above is taken from a regular blog in which Leanne is going to be sharing her experiences on our young people's website yheart - you can read her latest post about the Leeds Festival here

Let Leanne and us know what you think about her blog by posting a comment below.

Friday, 18 September 2009

Scotland's young Braveheart returns to fight heart disease

Andrew Weir, the actor who played Young Hamish in Mel Gibson’s Braveheart at the age of 13, has raised over £1,100 for British Heart Foundation Scotland in memory of his dad.

Andrew, originally from Ayr, left Scotland for New York in 2005 and now lives in San Francisco, California. He is currently appearing as Robert Burns in a promotion for Homecoming 2009 on the website

He organised the charity golf event at Belleisle municipal golf course in Ayr in memory of his father David, who died suddenly of a heart attack in August 1999, aged just 49. By tragic coincidence Andrew’s grandfather was 48 when he died - also of a heart attack.

Andrew says: ”My father was incredibly sociable and popular and when he died, his friends gathered enough money to erect a bench in his memory at the first tee at Belleisle golf course so it is a very special place for the whole family. We had so much interest from people who knew my dad that we didn’t really need to promote the event.”

The tournament was organised by Andrew and close family friend, Charlie McGill. It was a great success with over 60 golfers taking part and the event continued into the evening with a fundraiser at The Chase in Ayr. Raffle prizes were donated by William Grant & Sons and John Higgins donated a signed snooker cue.

Andrew added: ”John Murtagh, the actor from Braveheart, Rob Roy and River City, introduced the raffle. John and I worked together for many years in the entertainment business. He recently suffered a heart attack while working in Glasgow and so was keen to come along and promote the vital work of BHF Scotland.”

Thursday, 17 September 2009

There are so many ways you can help us raise money...

... and we'd like to introduce you to another, our online shop!

We've just had a bit of a revamp - put up new imaginary shelves, cleaned the virtual carpet, polished the electronic windows - that sort of thing. Most importantly of all, we've got some brilliant new items in.

Every penny of profit goes towards the fight against heart disease, so have a look and see what takes your fancy:

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Working with heart!

We're counting down to World Heart Day on 27 September 2009.

World Heart Day is a global event aimed at spreading the message that heart disease is the world’s leading cause of death, claiming 17.2 million lives each year.

We are a member of the event's creators, the World Heart Federation, and are helping to make people aware that 80% of premature deaths from heart disease could be saved if key risk factors such as smoking, bad diet and physical inactivity are avoided.

World Heart Day this year is based on the theme of inspiring health in the workplace - which is also the subject of our brand new Health at Work website.

You can read more about World Heart Day and how to join a Facebook group for the event here

Friday, 11 September 2009

Hearts in Europe

Our Chief Executive Peter Hollins (pictured right) was in Brussels yesterday as President of the European Heart Network, to chair a conference organised by EHN and the European Society of Cardiologists.

Here's Peter's report on how the day went...

"The conference was discussing the outcome of Work Package 5 of the Euroheart project, run by ESC and EHN and part financed by the EU. Odd coming back as a visitor to the city in which I lived for six years.

"The project compares rates of heart-related deaths around Europe and looks at the policies which are in place to tackle heart disease.

"We had a reasonably good turn-out for the meeting, but were very pleased that both the EU Commissioner for Health and the Director General of the Directorate came.

"The UK is so-so in overall heart health terms, and I pointed out in my speech that everybody around Europe really knows what needs to be done to improve heart health, but the political will is lacking and there are some huge entrenched interests - particularly food, tobacco (still!) and to some extent big pharma who have a strong interest in the status quo.

"I pointed out that we need a much greater spend on prevention, consistent tobacco taxation across Europe and proper food labelling - and I have to be honest, I'm a bit evangelical about this!

"They are all going to come in the end, but the Commission made it quite clear that we have to be realistic about what the EU and national governments will do at a time of economic stringency."

Thursday, 10 September 2009

What's it like to be 21 and waiting for a heart op?

"In a weird way I am looking forward to the operation now, but as it is a few weeks away I need to concentrate on my pending exams that I am taking. I have to do my exams in summer as I had an operation during the usual exam time. Annoying, but again my health comes first."

Leanne (pictured above right) is 21 and has a congenital heart condition. She's currently waiting to undergo a heart valve operation.

The passage above is taken from a regular blog in which Leanne is going to be sharing her experiences on our young people's website yheart - you can read her first post here

Let Leanne and us know what you think about her blog by posting a comment below.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Apocalypse then

It's not often that our thoughts turn from hearts to braaaains here at the British Heart Foundation, but thanks to a novel unofficial fundraising event from some undead afficionados in London, one intrepid BHF reporter nearly didn't make it out with hers.

The Sports Day of the Dead started with a horde (slowly) rampaging through Leicester Square.

The ranks of the differently-alive were very varied, everything from zombie telemarketers to undead soldiers.

Characters from films and post-apocalyptic video games like Resident Evil tried briefly to keep the mob at bay but were swiftly consumed (providing essential protein)!

Hearts and minds

The ravening monsters then moved on to the swelteringly warm London Fields for an afternoon of fun, games and brain-flavoured jelly.

The javelimb and the people chase definitely added a new twist to the traditional sports day, and there was a great grand prize (more on that later). The limping was very energetic, proving that exercise definitely doesn't have to be dull!

We'd like to extend our thanks to the organisers of this and every other unofficial fundraising event for their creativity and hard work. It's only with your support that we can keep up the fight against heart disease.