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Former underground driver supports Every Heart Matters Appeal

Ken Jones - case study photo

Ken Jones used to spend five-hours commuting from his home to London just to work.

But the retired underground guard, driver and trainer who ended up building computer-based training programmes, is now in happy retirement at his home in Thetford.

And the 58-year-old, who lives in Harwood Avenue, is backing the My WiSH Charity’s Every Heart Matters appeal to raise £500,000 after having surgery to install a bi-ventricular pacemaker.

He was diagnosed with an irregular heart beat back in September 2012 and following tests at the West Suffolk Hospital, in Bury St Edmunds, he had the device fitted at the Papworth Hospital, almost a year after his first round of assessments.

There has been follow up treatment at both hospitals which culminated in leads being replaced in his pacemaker this month.

But he says having a cardiac centre at the West Suffolk would save him having to make the long journey across to Cambridgeshire.

The appeal is aiming to raise the money to build a brand new centre at the hospital and was officially launched last month by Newmarket jockey Frankie Dettori.

The West Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust is investing £5.2m in developing a state of the art cardiac suite that will provide quicker access to more treatments, but the £500,000 My WiSH is hoping to raise will lead to the whole unit, which is currently fragmented on different floors, being brought together in one purpose-built centre.

Mr Jones said: “I went to the doctors to have a review and I was told that my heart was not beating properly and they sent me straight to the West Suffolk where they carried out tests to confirm that I had an irregular heart beat.”

He links up with Dr Pegah Salahshouri, the lead consultant cardiologist at the hospital, for his regular check ups.

“Pegah is my annual review … it’s in the cardiology clinic and virtually everything has been done here except for the operation. I have a six-monthly check at Papworth for the pacemaker.

“The treatment I have received at both hospitals has been absolutely excellent and I have been extremely impressed but it would be useful to have all the treatment under one roof and as far as travelling is concerned, I take a bus from Thetford to get to the West Suffolk and Papworth is more difficult so here is absolutely ideal for me.

“Knowing that the treatment will be in one place makes me feel more comfortable and it makes me feel that, if anything should go wrong, then the hospital is a half-an-hour away so having all the treatment done here would be ideal from my point of view.”

Mr Jones, who used to live in London prior to moving closer to his family in Thetford in 1997, was medically retired from his role as an underground trainer in 2013 after spending his working life on the transport network. He used to catch a train to Cambridge then to London King’s Cross and onwards to his workplace in West Kensington … a round trip of five hours.

“Pegah was adamant that I shouldn’t commute and it’s possible the stress of travel and work could have contributed to the heart problems but I wanted to support the appeal as way of trying to give something back for the great treatment I received.”

If you would like to get involved in any way log onto the website for further details.


Charity Registration Number:1049223