Team walk 25 miles in one day to fund extra heart screenings in the young

Sarah Lucy Brown

Loved ones greeted Matthew Mackenzie and his team as they arrive at Landguard Point after walking from Shotley in aid of CRY. L-R Tom Monk, Daniel Mackenzie, George McCallum, Ian Mackenzie, Matt Mackenzie,Keith Jennings - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

A Felixstowe footballer who had his career cut short several years ago due to a heart diagnosis has raised more than £1,500 through a charity hike.

Matthew Mackenzie, who is now the under-18s Woodbridge Town Football Club coach, decided to team up with his best friend and family to walk 25 miles in one day to support a charity that helps with screening for heart problems in young people.

Loved ones greeted Matthew Mackenzie and his team as they arrive at Landguard Point after walking fr

Loved ones greeted Matthew Mackenzie and his team as they arrive at Landguard Point after walking from Shotley in aid of CRY. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Matthew, his dad, Ian Mackenzie, his brother, Daniel Mackenzie, uncle Keith Jennings, brother-in-law, Tom Monk and best friend, George McCallum all walked from Shotley Gate to Landguard Point in aid of Cardiac Risk in the Young charity (CRY).

The group successfully completed the walk, though they somehow ended up walking two miles further than they planned.

They set off bright and early at 7am on Saturday, February 12, and arrived just before 5pm, raising more than £1,500 in the process.

Matthew said: "It was really hard, it was sort of fine for the first three-quarters of it but you really start to feel it in the legs.

"The psychological bit is when you can see the docks, you think you're pretty much there in Felixstowe, but it was probably another hour and a half."

Matthew first spoke of his experiences in 2018 after he had received a ‘devastating’ diagnosis of cardiomyopathy.

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It is a disease of the heart muscle which makes it harder for the heart to pump blood around the body, and can lead to heart failure.

Loved ones greeted Matthew Mackenzie and his team as they arrive at Landguard Point after walking fr

Loved ones greeted Matthew Mackenzie and his team as they arrive at Landguard Point after walking from Shotley in aid of CRY. - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

This diagnosis came as a real shock to Matthew, who was a healthy and keen footballer, it meant that he had to give up the sport immediately.  

Matthew had fainted twice before being sent to hospital to undergo tests, which showed he had a mild form of cardiomyopathy. 

CRY supports young people diagnosed with potentially life-threatening cardiac conditions and offers bereavement support to families affected by young sudden cardiac death.  

 They also help with screening in young people, by providing ECGs and heart monitors before anything is diagnosed or there are symptoms.

Matthew added: "What's good about it is it does the groundwork and the early work to prevent things from happening later on, and it's really important that people get behind that as well."

If you would like to donate, visit: justgiving.com/fundraising/Orwellloop.

Loved ones greeted Matthew Mackenzie and his team as they arrive at Landguard Point after walking fr

Loved ones greeted Matthew Mackenzie and his team as they arrive at Landguard Point after walking from Shotley in aid of CRY - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

Loved ones greeted Matthew Mackenzie and his team as they arrive at Landguard Point after walking fr

Loved ones greeted Matthew Mackenzie and his team as they arrive at Landguard Point after walking from Shotley in aid of CRY. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown