A FOOTBALL club chairman has backed our Jack’s Appeal to get defibrillators into all Gwent secondary schools after club members raised £1,000 for a heart charity.

Footballers from AC Pontymister raised the cash for Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) off their own bat by taking part in last week’s half- marathon in Newport.

The Argus has teamed up with Grant and June Thomas, of Oakdale, to launch the appeal in memory of their 15-year-old son, Jack, who died of an underlying heart condition.

Upon hearing about Jack’s Appeal, club chairman Dave Randall said he backed the campaign 100 per cent and would like to be able to get a defibrillator for the club if finances allow.

“It is definitely a good idea to get defibrillators into schools,” he said. “I work in the construction industry and a lot of people come back from first-aid training interested in getting a defibrillator on site.

“More and more [incidents] get you thinking we should have all bases covered and expect the unexpected. It’s something that needs doing,” he said.

This year members of AC Pontymister, who train in Risca and in the past have raised cash for Maisie’s Steps to Hope and Breast Cancer Awareness, chose to push themselves by running the Newport Half Marathon and raise funds for CRY.

This was after their first-team assistant manager Mark Powell and his son, Luke, an AC Pontymister player, lost their son and brother, Craig, in May 2008, on his 22nd birthday, because of an undetected heart condition.

Club members Elliot Donald, Dave Cleere and Stuart Goodwin signed up for the challenge, followed by Laurie Kidman, Lewis Davies, Lee Elliot, Lewis Coburn, Dan Williams, Nathan George and Mark Powell.

Setting themselves an initial goal of £500, members took to social media, turning the dangerous social media craze, NekNominate, into the more sensible “Donate for a mate”, which helped them to achieve their target a few days before the race.

Several drop-outs due to injury were replaced on the day by Connor Dimmick, Lewis Pontin and Stuart George.

Mr Dimmick was first to finish out of the group, in one hour 38 minutes, with the last returning 32 minutes later.

“It was a tremendous effort with great publicity for CRY and one that has been superbly appreciated, as when we returned home we had found that our sponsorship had gone from our £500 target to over £1,000,” said Mr Randall, who has been in post for 12 years having joined the club as a player aged 16.

“People are still donating so hopefully with fingers crossed we can raise more for a charity that is close to our club and its players.”

l To make a donation to Jack’s Appeal, send cheques made payable to Welsh Hearts charity, either to its headquarters at Temple Court, 13a Cathedral Road, Cardiff, CF11 9HA, or to Newsdesk, South Wales Argus, Cardiff Road, Newport, NP20 3QN. Please write ‘Jack Thomas defibs appeal’ on the back of the envelope.

Tickets for the The King and Queen of Hearts Summer Ball (in memory of Jack’s Appeal) are £45 each, and include a sparkling drinks reception, a three-course dinner and entertainment. It will be held at the Hilton Newport Hotel on Chepstow Road, Langstone, NP18 2LX, on June 7, 2014. People are being encouraged to arrive at 7pm for a 7.30pm start. To book tickets to the Summer Ball contact Welsh Hearts Fundraising Office on 02920 786521 or email fundraising@welshhearts.org