Whiteley woman speaks of pain after partner dies on holiday

Laura Miles and David Brown. Below, guests enjoying his memorial ball
Laura Miles and David Brown. Below, guests enjoying his memorial ball

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IT WAS a beautiful late summer’s day on the holiday island of Majorca.

Laura Miles was soaking up the sun with her partner David Brown on the last day of their trip, not knowing that tragedy was about to strike.

ball for rep mt''Caption: Over 140 people joined Laura and Natalie at the ball

ball for rep mt''Caption: Over 140 people joined Laura and Natalie at the ball

They went to bed as normal, but the next morning David never woke up.

At just 26, he had died from Sudden Adult Death Syndrome.

There were no symptoms, nothing to alert her about what was going to happen.

Sixteen months on, Laura, from Whiteley, is starting to come to terms with the tragedy.

She said: ‘Friends and family have been a huge support. Dave and I had been together since we were 16 so life has changed dramatically for me.’

Since his death, Laura has been determined to raise money for charity in his memory, organising five car boot sales, one of which raised more than £400.

She also held a charity day at her work – Ageas Insurance in Portsmouth. This included a dress down day, cake sale and a raffle with the event raising an impressive £3,266.62, which went to Laura’s chosen charity, Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY).

Since its formation in 1995, CRY tries to reduce the number of young sudden cardiac deaths through medical research and heart screening.

It also supports young people diagnosed with potentially life-threatening cardiac conditions.

Every week in the UK, at least 12 young people die of undiagnosed heart problems.

Laura added: ‘I didn’t know if I was ready to do anything like that but then I realised that I am still here and I need to do what I can to help prevent another family going through the pain and distress of losing a loved one.

‘I haven’t got any help from CRY yet but I have been told that they are there to support me and when I am ready, there are people there who can do counselling.

‘I’ve been trying to focus on different things since then, but now I think I’m ready to get some help so I’m going to go to them as they are a really good charity.’

Laura and close friend Natalie Bridgman, 28, from Stubbington, planned and organised a charity ball in memory of David, calling it the Red Heart Ball.

‘Having events such as the ball to raise money for CRY has been so important to me,’ said Laura.

‘It has given me something to focus on and, of course, I want to raise as much money as possible for the charity to get young adults screened.’

They raised almost £5,000 from the Red Heart Ball.

Barclays – where Natalie works as branch manager in Park Gate – added a further £4,000.

The first £5,000 will goes towards the core funding of the charity, including counselling and research.

The rest of the money raised, Laura has decided, will be spent on heart screening for those aged 14 to 35, which costs £35 per person.

She added: ‘In Italy, they have made heart screenings mandatory for anyone interested in sports.

‘So even if you’re doing school sports such as football, hockey and netball, they have to get tested and the government pay for that and it’s all supported.

‘They have reduced the deaths by 90 per cent which is really good, and that’s why I’m so passionate about raising money for heart screenings.’

It took Laura and Natalie five months to organise the event at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton last September – a year after David’s death.

Natalie said: ‘Nothing went wrong and everything went to plan on the night. We wanted everyone to have a good time.

‘Our main thing though was for everyone to know about the charity.

‘We had CRY leaflets on tables and a woman called Sue Standing-Fisher volunteered to be a representative for us and spoke to the guests.

‘Although Sue doesn’t work for the charity, she is still a massive supporter and raises money for them too.’

More than 140 people bought a £35 ticket to enjoy a three-course-meal and listen to popular local band The Stereotypes.

There was also a raffle and silent auctions, with prizes donated by a number of local businesses.

This year, the two want to organise an even bigger and better ball to raise even more awareness and money for CRY.