Rare heart condition took the life of ‘superfit’ Nick

Nick Rawlinson
Nick Rawlinson

A RARE heart condition that led to the death of a seemingly “superfit” young man who was in training to embark on an international cycle ride, was highlighted at a Warwick fundraising event this week.

Nick Rawlinson was just 30 when he was found dead in bed at his Leamington flat earlier this year.

Chris Rawlinson doing the Italian bike ride his brother was due to do.

Chris Rawlinson doing the Italian bike ride his brother was due to do.

The cause - Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome - was the same undiagnosed irregular heartbeat that led to the collapse of former Premiership foootballer Fabrice Muamba during the FA Cup quarter final earlier this year.

Unlike Fabrice - who was saved when a defibrillator was rushed onto the pitch - Nick, who grew up in Kenilworth, was asleep in bed. There was nobody to dial 999.

On Monday nearly 100 people packed the new High Pavement bar and restaurant in Jury Street, Warwick, to take part in a light-hearted quiz which had the more serious underlying purpose of raising the profile of the Sudden Arrhythmic Death Syndrome charity (SADS).

Nick’s father, mortgage adviser David Rawlinson, was there to talk about the need for a greater awareness of the ware of the warning signs of an irregular heartbeat, particularly among sporting teenagers and those under the age of 35 who to all intents and purposes appear to be fighting fit.

Mr Rawlinson, who works for estate agents RA Bennett Partners, said: “Nick was a former pupil of Kenilworth School. He worked for Jaguar Landrover and cycled between 800 to 900 miles a month as he trained for a charity bike ride in Italy.

“But SADS is a condition that has only been established in recent years and can creep up, with only small indications, like fainting or unusual chest pains, particularly after physical exertion. After Nick died my younger son Chris saw a cardiologist and learned that he too, might be at risk.

“As a result Chris had a device inserted into his chest which means that if by any chance his heart does fall out of its natural rhythm he will be given a 750 volts shock to jolt it back.”

Chris, who is 27 and also attended Kenilworth School, now lives in Southampton. He went on to complete the 133 kilometre Italian bike ride in his brother’s place and ended up raising £4,900 for SADS.

The quiz night on Monday added at least another £530.

Mr Rawlinson was delighted with the support given to him by Paul Brown, the proprietor of the High Pavement restaurant and his colleagues in the neighbouring offices of countrywide estate agents RA Bennett, who helped organise the quiz.

He feels the night gave him the chance to not only relax with wellwishers but an opportunity to raise the profile of SADS so that anyone worried about symptoms, or with family histories of heart disease, might consider seeing their doctor.

Paul Brown, who took the original name for Jury Street, High Pavement, as the name for his restaurant, said: “The quiz night was a fantastic sell-out and really well supported by the local community.

“We were delighted to be involved in helping such a worthy cause.”

To find out more about SADS visit www.sads.org.uk