Local M&S staff receive heart screening tests

M&S staff from across the country had their hearts screened this weekend, thanks to the company's new partnership with leading heart charity, Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY).

Over 200 staff members journeyed from M&S Northern Ireland’s 20 store locations to take part in the testing, which was held in M&S Lisburn throughout Saturday, February 25 and Sunday, February 26. The partnership with CRY is a new development, established after M&S Newtownbreda Foodhall Manager, Matthew Thompson, tragically died from a previously undiagnosed heart condition while jogging on the Lagan Towpath in June last year.

Matthew was only 39 years old, and this staff screening event marked the first M&S/CRY event since the partnership was established. M&S Northern Ireland will now work with CRY on a number of ongoing initiatives, including various fundraising drives and another planned staff heart screening event to take place later this year.

Every week in the UK, around 12 young people die suddenly from a previously undiagnosed heart condition. 80 per cent of these deaths will occur with no prior symptoms, which is why CRY believes proactive screening is so vitally important.

Ryan Lemon, M&S Head of Region said: “It was a pleasure to welcome CRY to M&S Lisburn and to see so many of Matthew’s colleagues come out to make use of the life-saving service that CRY offer. Together, I hope we can prevent this happening to any other M&S staff members. I was the first to be tested when CRY arrived on Saturday and found the experience to be simple, effortless and practically instant. I urge more people in Matthew’s age group (18-39) to push for heart screening to ensure their heart is safe and sound.”

Following Matthew’s death, M&S has also installed public access defibrillators in all of Northern Ireland’s stores, as well as trained over 200 members of staff in their emergency use.