Big-HARTed Wilma picks up MBE in New Year Honours

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Selkirk’s Wilma Gunn has been awarded an MBE for services to cardiac health and charity in Scotland in the New Year Honours.

The founder of the Scottish Heart at Risk Testing (HART) charity told The Wee Paper: “I’m chuffed to bits and a bit shocked”

Wilma, of Hallidays Park, set up Scottish HART in 1997 after the sudden death of her son, Cameron, who had cardiomyopathy. He collapsed while playing five-a-side football the night before his 20th birthday in 1991.

She first raised £5,000 for the Sick Children’s Hospital in Edinburgh before establishing Scottish HART which raises money to screen young people, families at risk and competitive sportspeople for heart disorders.

She explained: “I felt mothers like myself needed a bit of help, and sports clubs and others needed to be more aware of cardiomyopathy and its consequences.”

Scottish HART is also involved in installing defibrillators in public places and runs training programmes for them. And it is the charity behind the successful campaign to have heart screening at Hampden Park, run by Professor Stewart Hillis OBE and Dr John McLean.

Wilma said: “I appreciate this award very much and accept it in the knowledge that a whole lot of people have helped me and Scottish HART over the years to make awareness of cardiomyopathy much more high profile and help save lives all over Scotland.”

Next she hopes to see defibrillators in every town and village in Scotland.

Wilma was honoured in the Daily Record’s first Health Awards in 2002 and gained Guiding’ highest accolade, the Queen’s Guide, in 1962.