Teen raises cash in dad’s memory

Heart fundraiser
Heart fundraiser

A 16-YEAR-old heart patient from Belper has raised £460 for charity by hosting a basketball match in memory of her father.

Gemma Hodgkinson, of Ladywood Avenue, lost her dad Darran to a heart attack in March 2010. He was aged just 44.

Along with her family, Gemma organised the match at the Anthony Gell School in Wirksworth, where she is a pupil, to raise funds for the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

A students’ team edged out a teachers’ line-up by 49 points to 43.

Gemma said: “I am so pleased we raised so much money, especially as I was studying for my GCSEs while trying to organise the match, so I didn’t really have much time to plan it all.

“My school really helped me and we held a staff cake and coffee morning on the same day, which my sister made the cakes for, as well as a mini basketball tournament for students in years seven, eight and nine.

“My dad was a lovely and caring man who I know would have wanted us to take something positive out of such a sad experience.”

Gemma is a heart patient herself and suffered with a condition called Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT), which means the heart beats very fast. The condition made her feel dizzy and nauseous. She underwent heart surgery to correct the problem at Glenfield Hospital, Leicester in December 2009 and has not suffered since.

Gemma’s mum, Kim ,45, added: “We have been amazed at the amount of support from Anthony Gell — the care shown for Gemma day-to-day, and the effort put in by the teachers for the fundraising day was heart warming.

“It was a great bonding experience for all involved, with a real buzz on the day. I was cheering on from the side and was proud to be part of something so lovely, especially as it was held in memory of Darran.

“Of course it’s still very hard dealing with our loss and we have happy and sad days, but just take each day at a time. I’m extremely proud of my girls and know Darran would be too.”

Gemma’s sister Megan, 13, hopes to involve Belper School, where she attends, next year. Megan said: “I really enjoyed helping organise the match and the fundraising day and we would love to get a tournament going next year with local schools.”