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Ty Townsley's spirit lives on as memorial bench to be unveiled in Tuffley

By The Citizen  |  Posted: January 05, 2014

  • school photo: Ty Townsley.

  • Memorial match: Ty's parents Becky and Gerry Townsley.

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ONE year on and life is no easier for the Townsley family as they struggle to come to terms with the loss of their beloved Ty, who died in his sleep on January 6, 2013.

Monday will be a difficult day for the 15-year-old's parents Becky and Gerry, his brothers Tom and Toby, and their many friends and family, as they mark the first anniversary of their loss.

Ty was a rising star in the junior ranks of Coney Hill RFC before his promising rugby career was cut short by an undiagnosed heart condition.

A memorial bench built by his former rugby coach and builder Chris Dee from JD Construction Ltd, Gloucester, will be unveiled on Monday at Wingate Park, Tuffley, from 6pm.

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Ty's mum Becky said: "We will be releasing some balloons around the bench we have made in his memory on the first anniversary.

"It has been a very difficult time for us over Christmas. We all wished each other happy Easter rather than a happy New Year as that was something that Ty sent me in a text last New Year as a joke, it is something that we have continued. It has been a strange one. I've got this idea that we can wrap some ribbon around the bench so we can cut the ribbon to open it. I would like to say thanks to Chris who made the base for us. We had a memorial fun day in May and the funds raised from that have paid for the materials."

Ty's tragic story and other similar sudden deaths from heart-related conditions in young people have prompted the University of Gloucestershire to host a weekend of free cardiac screening in April.

The Citizen is running its Stop the Heartbreak campaign in association with the Cardiac Risk in the Young charity by encouraging supporters to raise £7,000 to ensure the 200 sessions are free for people aged 18 to 35.

Professor Diane Crone, from the University, said: "The campaign aims to raise awareness of this important issue throughout sport of the risk of sudden cardiac death and to help identify the families that are most at risk.

"It is recommended by CRY that families who have already had a young sudden cardiac death in the family should be aware that other family members should be screened. But this campaign is not just about abnormalities, it is also about raising the importance of looking after our hearts through regular exercise and healthy eating."

The screening event will also be a two-day celebration of sport and physical activity in the county with a festival of sport and physical activity at Oxstalls Campus on April 8 and 9.

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  • DianeCrone  |  January 05 2014, 3:22PM

    If you would like to support stop the heartbreak and help raise the £7000 to provide 200 cardiac screening places for young people in Gloucestershire please visit http://tinyurl.com/njmf58o Or if you want to organise a fundraising event, be involved as a sponsor of the event or support this in any way please email us on stoptheheartbreak@glos.ac.uk. We would love to hear from you.... Let's all play our part in making a difference to the lives of young people and their families in Gloucestershire. Many thanks, Professor Diane Crone.

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