Woman whose sister died of heart attack in Sidmouth raises money for charity

PUBLISHED: 14:06 23 August 2018 | UPDATED: 14:07 23 August 2018

Marion Baker, fundraising to buy reclining chairs for cardiac patients at the RD&E Hospital. Picture: Philippa Davies

Marion Baker, fundraising to buy reclining chairs for cardiac patients at the RD&E Hospital. Picture: Philippa Davies

Philippa Davies

Family fun day will raise money to buy reclining chairs for heart failure patients being treated at the RD&E in Exeter

Marion Baker with the poster for her Heartfest fundraising event and promotional pens . Picture:  Philippa DaviesMarion Baker with the poster for her Heartfest fundraising event and promotional pens . Picture: Philippa Davies

A nursing assistant whose sister died of a heart attack in Sidmouth two years ago is holding a fundraising event in the town on September 1, to benefit the cardiac patients she treats at Exeter RD&E hospital.

Marion Baker of Venn Ottery, who has survived a heart attack herself, is raising money to buy reclining chairs for patients whose heart condition causes their body to swell through fluid retention. The chairs can be adjusted to take their weight in the most comfortable way, unlike a normal hospital bed.

“We found that with heart failure patients, if they’ve got a reclining chair it gives them a better quality of life,” she said. “The NHS doesn’t supply the chairs, so we decided to buy our own.”

She and a colleague started fundraising for the chairs, which cost £931 each, last December. Through their efforts, and donations from patients, they have already ordered five chairs from the suppliers.

Marion Baker is organising a family fun day called Heartfest to raise money to benefit cardiac patients. Picture:  Philippa DaviesMarion Baker is organising a family fun day called Heartfest to raise money to benefit cardiac patients. Picture: Philippa Davies

But since there can be 10 patients on her ward, Marion wants to raise enough money for them to have a chair each.

She and her fellow fundraisers have organised Heartfest, a family fun day with food and drink, children’s rides, craft stalls and entertainment. There will be martial arts displays by adults and children, Bulgarian dancing, and the Sidmouth Steppers.

Marion explained that she is holding the event in Sidmouth in memory of her sister Pat Roberts, who died of a heart attack outside the Anchor Inn aged 61, and also because they are both from the town. “We’re a big Sidmouth family,” she said.

Another reason is that Sidmouth has a very high rate of heart failure, and all cardiac patients are treated at the RD&E.

Marion Baker with her Heartfest photo and pens she sells to help raise money for the cause. Picture:  Philippa DaviesMarion Baker with her Heartfest photo and pens she sells to help raise money for the cause. Picture: Philippa Davies

Marion said she could not have succeeded in her fundraising, or in holding Heartfest, without the people – too many to name – who volunteer their services for all her events. Her colleagues, staff nurse Casey Noland and healthcare assistant Hannah Glanville, and a retired friend, Eileen Evis, have been particularly supportive.

“II couldn’t do it without them,” she said. “It’s just everybody pulling together because in one way or the other, people have suffered with heart problems.”

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