A FAMILY left devastated by the scourge of hereditary heart disease is campaigning to ensure everyone has access to life-saving cardiac screening.

Paul Gaunt, 52, of Addingham, was on holiday with his partner Andrea when he passed away suddenly due to a huge heart attack on June 2.

Five years ago his brother Tony Gaunt also passed away at home aged 51 due to a heart attack. The brothers' father Peter Gaunt had previously passed away aged 63 after suffering a heart attack, as did both of his brothers at a young age.

Both Paul and Tony had suffered previous heart attacks but once given medication and, in Paul's case, a stent fitted, they were never called back for any check-ups.

Now the family is promoting heart screening and is raising money in Paul's memory and in conjunction with the Danny Jones Defib fund, with the aim of enabling cardiac screening to be available to all up and down the country.

Paul's niece Sara Mortimer, daughter of Paul's sister Susan, has written of Ilkley's MP John Grogan asking for his help to promote heart screening.

She said: "Paul was a wagon driver and was due to go for a medical this month. If he had had this they may picked something up.

"We do not want others to feel the heartache we are going through at losing two of our family so suddenly. Getting screened could prevent this happening to others."

Sara added: "We have already funded a few defibrillators in the village but surely prevention is better. To have screening privately would cost an individual around £300 and people just do not go as there is not enough out there about it.

"The screening can be set up at community events, sports clubs etc and consists of a ECG, cholesterol check and blood pressure checks, which once done can be referred to specialists for correct treatment and advice if needed. The screening costs in the region of £6,000 to set up each time."

In her letter to Mr Grogan she has also asked him for help to push for more check-ups on the NHS for people once they have had a heart attack. She said: "If you have cancer the NHS is brilliant and calls you back for regular check ups, but if you have had a heart attack you seem to get forgotten about until your next episode. I have spoken to a few people who have suffered with heart attacks and they all say the same. They feel forgotten about and most have ended up having more than one heart attack and in my family's case death. Due to my uncles not receiving the after care they should have been entitled to my mother has now been left without her little brothers."

People can donate to the family's fundraising by visiting www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/paul-gauntscreening. People can also call into Addingham Social Club, where Sara works as assistant manager, to donate in person.

Sara added: "There were around 450 at Paul's funeral. He was such a big part of the community. He was the life and soul and always up for a laugh. We would like to thank people for the donations so far and for the messages of condolence sent to the family. It has been overwhelming."