A fitting tribute to teenage footballer

On behalf of the committee of Scottish H.A.R.T. (Heart At Risk Testing) I would like to thank a number of people for helping to make the 2011 Cameron Gunn Memorial Soccer Sevens Festival a fantastic success.

Cameron was a young man from Selkirk who collapsed and died in May 1991 on the eve of his 20th birthday after playing football with his workmates. Cameron’s death was due to a heart condition known as cardiomyopathy. His parents, Wilma and Kenneth, established the charity Scottish H.A.R.T. to raise awareness about the disease and campaign for a screening programme to be introduced for all youngsters involved in sport.

The event on June 5 was the biggest youth football tournament of its type in Scotland.

Scottish H.A.R.T would like to express its gratitude to Dougie Anderson, the Scottish Football Association’s senior development officer in the Borders, and his staff (Drew Kelly and Mark Forsyth in particular) for all the hard work and organisation that goes into staging an event of this size. It is thanks to their efforts that the Soccer Sevens Festival has grown to be bigger and better with each passing year. We would also like to thank all the clubs who provided volunteers to help set up on the day and clear up afterwards.

The Scottish Borders Junior Football Association presented Scottish H.A.R.T. with registration fees of £920 (a record figure), and donations, bucket collections and vendors’ fees helped the charity raise a total just short of £1,500 on the day.

The charity will use this money to raise awareness about the dangers of cardiomyopathy and other heart conditions as well as helping to maintain and provide training for our Public Access Defibrillators (PADs) in more than 30 locations in Scotland.

The charity also hopes to build on the work we did earlier this year when Scottish H.A.R.T. arranged for a team of specialists from the Cardiac Assessment in Young Athletes (CAYA) screening programme based at Hampden Park to visit the Borders and screen dozens of local youngsters involved in sport. It is our hope that over the coming months many more local youngsters can undergo this potentially life-saving screening.

Finally, we would like to thank the most important participants on the day, the hundreds of youngsters themselves whose hard work and enthusiasm made the tournament a fun and fitting memorial to Cameron Gunn.

Graeme McIver

(Scottish H.A.R.T. volunteer)