Wessex Heartbeat's High Five Appeal close to dad's heart after losing son 27 years ago

Andrew and Fay Fleming

Andrew and Fay Fleming Buy this photo

First published in News Daily Echo: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

THEY lost their baby to a heart condition when he was just eight days old.

Now, 27 years after his death Joseph Fleming’s parents are urging people to back the charity that would have helped keep him alive.

And to help the Daily Echo-backed Wessex Heartbeat High 5 Appeal reach its fundraising target, his dad Andrew is preparing to perform on stage at the Mayflower Theatre for the charity’s flagship show Dancing with Choirs.

Andrew is a member of Romsey Male Voice Choir which will join hundreds of performers from across Hampshire in the show. Its aim is to raise thousands to create a ward and living area at Southampton General Hospital for youngsters with heart problems.

The couple are both language teachers at The Mountbatten School.

The school made headlines earlier this week when teacher Emma Denham, who was being interviewed for a job, saved Sam Mangoro’s life when he suffered a cardiac arrest during a PE class.

Joseph’s mum Fay, 58, said: “When Joseph passed away things were very different for babies born with heart conditions.

“Today medical advancement has transformed the chances of babies like Joseph living on to become young adults.

“Had he survived he would now be 27, the age when it’s highly likely he’d have desperately needed the new young adult cardiac ward as many patients do today.

“That’s why the thought of giving those other young people with congenital heart conditions a much better life in hospital touches a real chord with both of us. It’s also why we are supporting Wessex Heartbeat’s High 5 Appeal, and delighted that RMVC is doing the same.”

Andrew, 60, said: “You forge very strong links with people who go through the same problems.

“You never know when this is going to strike. The more we know the better we can help people.”

• The show will be at the Mayflower Theatre on May 18.

For tickets, call 023 8071 1811 or visit mayflower.org.uk.

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