Kilburn boy becomes Derbyshire’s youngest fundraiser for heart charity

Kilburn resident Jak Austin raised �160 for the British Heart Foundation to mark his eighth birthday.
Kilburn resident Jak Austin raised �160 for the British Heart Foundation to mark his eighth birthday.

A Kilburn boy has become Derbyshire’s youngest ever British Heart Foundation fundraiser after doing something special for his birthday.

Jak Austin decided to spend the month before he turned eight running a ‘pindrop on the donkey’ competition among his family and friends, eventually raking in £160.

Jak and great uncle Shane Falconbridge, who has now made a full recovery from his heart attack.

Jak and great uncle Shane Falconbridge, who has now made a full recovery from his heart attack.

The Horsley Primary School pupil was inspired to start fundraising after his great uncle Shane suffered a heart attack last year.

Great aunt Jackie Falconbridge said: “His uncle was quite poorly, and Jak came to see him in hospital, so he understood a little bit then.

“Now we get the Heart Matters magazine delivered to our house, and Jak has picked it up to read a few times. I thinkthat made him realised that babies can have heart problems too, and he started thinking about it differently.”

She added: “I asked him what he wanted for his birthday, and he said he didn’t need anything, so we should give the money to charity. My heart could have burst.”

Jak and Jackie ordered a fundraising pack from the British Heart Foundation, including a poster which showed the donkey in a field, and some stickers which people could use to mark its location.

Jackie said: “We went all over Amber Valley visiting people we know, and everyone was happy to pay £2 to have a go. Belper folk are very good like that, they always come together to help.

“Jak would put a blindfold on them, and spin them round – three times if they were old, five times if they were young.”

The youngster also insisted on buying Easter eggs for the three players who got closest to the donkey.

Jackie said: “He’s never done anything like this before, but we do try to do a lot of charity events as a family. He’ll be coming on a sponsored walk with us later this year.

“He’s a very caring little chap, who will always call if he knows you’re not well. He doesn’t think what he done is out of the ordinary, it’s very matter of fact.”

When the British Heart Foundation heard about what Jak was doing, one of their representatives travelled to meet him to say thank you.

Jackie said: “Jak had planned to raise £140, which he knew would pay for a cardiology nurse on a ward for one day – but he wanted to know where the other £20 would go.”

In 2017-18, the foundation spent £128 million on life-saving research and support for heart patients. Learn more about its work and how you can help at bhf.org.uk.