Award for mum who campaigns in son’s memory
AN INSPIRATIONAL mum has been recognised for her tireless fundraising after the death of her teenage son.
June Thomas was presented with a British Empire Medal (BEM) after coping with the sudden death of son Jack at the age of 15.
Since then June, from Oakdale, has gone on to raise nearly £70,000 for charity as well as introducing an initiative to have secondary schools fitted with defibrillators.
She was presented with the award by the Queen’s representative, Lord Lieutenant of Gwent Brigadier Robert Aitken CBE.
June’s son Jack was 15 when he died suddenly.
After his death in 2012, June established a valleys branch of the UK charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (Cry) as well as Jack’s Appeal, a campaign to get all secondary schools in the Gwent area fitted with a defibrillator.
The appeal, which was backed by the charity Welsh Hearts, achieved this in 2015 and has since expanded into the area’s primary schools.
To date, June has raised more than £69,000 for Cry, which pays for a specialist heart screening team to attend schools to screen pupils for underlying and undiagnosed heart defects.
Added to this, June has also raised over £67,000 for Jack’s Appeal which supports the purchase of defibrillators for schools, which has so far delivered 49 machines to schools.
June is also currently supporting lead petitioner Phil Hill in campaigning to the Welsh Government to introduce Jack’s Law.
This would make it a legal duty for all Welsh public buildings to have a defibrillator.
She has worked with medical organisations and the media to promote and support Jack’s Law and has the backing from medical practitioners and the charity Welsh Hearts.
Brigadier Aitken said: “It is a great honour to present this award to June celebrating her outstanding fundraising efforts.
“What she has managed to achieve is commendable and will potentially save lives in the future.”
June said: “What happened to Jack was heartbreaking, creating a fund in his memory has truly inspired me to do all that I can to provide lifesaving equipment to schools and community facilities.
“My aim is to provide a defibrillator to every secondary school in Wales and with the help and support of charities and the generous public that target seems within reach.”