Preston-based charity Heartbeat is counting the weeks until it turns 40 – and it is appealing for help from its supporters.
With a four-decade history, the charity wants to hear from anyone who was around in its early days.
Members are keen to speak to former staff or anyone who was supported by its heart rehabilitation services.
Heartbeat was founded in 1978 by Keith and Rose Redman who lost their teenage daughter, Gillian, to heart disease in December 1977, aged just 16 years old.
Keith and Rose, of Preston, recognised the need to develop support and enhanced rehabilitation for people affected by heart disease post-hospital discharge.
This pioneering approach to cardiac rehabilitation lead to the creation of Heartbeat which over the years has provided help and support to thousands of local people affected by heart disease.
It started its early days as a full cardiac rehabilitation programme at Preston Polytechnic (UCLAN), with services also at Pond House, in Fulwood, before it moved to the former National Football Museum, in Deepdale, in February 2015.
There are also seven satellite sites across Lancashire, all offering a tailored approach to tackling heart disease,
Louise Bache, Heartbeat service development manager, said: “It’s an amazing achievement for Heartbeat to reach 40 years in existence.
“From very humble beginnings in 1978 the charity has gone from strength to strength and over the years the services we offer to local people have greatly improved.
“Today we are supporting more than 800 people every single week.
“As we reflect on 40 years of Heartbeat we’d love to hear from anyone who was around in the early days who can share their experiences and memories of Heartbeat.
“These stories are so important to its history and we want to preserve them and record them for future years.”
Over the years, hundreds of people have gathered to support the charity, which doesn’t receive any government funding.
These well wishers have raised thousands to support its services and will continue to do so.
Louise adds: “Heartbeat does not receive any funding from the NHS or government and is funded 100 per cent by voluntary donations.
“It costs just over £1m every year to fund these vital cardiac services and this is only thanks to businesses, community groups and supporters who have been behind Heartbeat and supported them for years.”
Heartbeat is committed to the fight to reduce the impact of cardiovascular disease within the North West through rehabilitation, information and advice, education and lifestyle support.
It has developed close working relationships with British Heart Foundation and associated delivery partners to deliver the best possible service to its participants.
Heartbeat has a team of dedicated professionals, including a board of trustees (all volunteers) who provide governance, a clinical director, local GPs and specialist nurses for medical services.
A cardiac physiologist is on site to deliver clinical testing while its health and lifestyles development manager is educating children, young people and adults on-site and in the community.
A team of qualified fitness instructors guide participants through structured exercise classes with a patient support officer.
The fund-raising and lottery teams provide an annual programme of events and activities that raise the vital funds to keep Heartbeat’s services going.
If anyone has memories to share, visit Heartbeat at its head office at Preston North End’s ground or call on 01772 717147 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.