Hemel Hempstead mum launches appeal in memory of her son, 27

Richard Merriman.
Richard Merriman.

The mum of a 27-year-old who died while playing football just eight weeks before he was due to get married is fundraising in his memory.

Former student of Hemel Hempstead’s John F Kennedy Catholic School Richard Merriman had just moved to Lincolnshire to set up home with fiancee Jade, now 31.

Richard had a cardiac arrest on July 25 last year and died from Sudden Death Syndrome.

His mum Nicola, 50, of Peartree Close, Warners End, said: “Richard was an energetic, fun loving and active young man who enjoyed playing sport.”

She is now trying to raise £8,000 for a new screening machine for young people in the area to check their heart condition.

Her fundraising campaign – which she is leading on behalf of the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) – has so far taken in £4,000.

She said: “It was devastating to lose our son Richard when he was so young and had so much of life ahead of him.

“But if we can help save lives locally by providing a screening machine for young people, it will provide a lasting legacy.”

Nicola will now host a fundraising tombola at a family fun day for staff at Ashridge House, where she is a kitchen assistant, between noon and 4pm on Sunday.

Richard was struck by the same condition that hit Bolton Wanderers footballer Fabrice Muamba during a match against Tottenham Hotspur last year. Muamba was lucky to survive the cardiac arrest.

Nicola said: “What is so awful about this condition is that many of its victims appear as fit and healthy.

“That’s why it is so important to have a screening facility all young people can access, to make sure they’re not at risk.”

To donate to Nicola’s campaign, visit www.c-r-y.org/donate and specify that your donation is for the Richard Merriman Memorial Fund.