Beating hearts, beating records

Wednesday, 11th April 2018

A TAMWORTH man is joining an attempt to create a new Guinness World Record for the largest gathering of cardiac arrest survivors in one place.

The event, being organised by the support group Sudden Cardiac Arrest UK in conjunction with The Essex Cardiothoracic Centre and SADS UK, will be taking place on Saturday 9 June 2018 at The Essex Cardiothoracic Centre (on the Basildon Hospital site).

Ben Culff has signed up to take part in the world record attempt and would like other cardiac arrest survivors to come along too.

Ben was an active 17-year-old when, in August 2017 working as a waiter at Drayton Manor Hotel, he had a sudden cardiac arrest. He was saved by his work colleagues who performed CPR and used the on-site defibrillator while waiting for the ambulance.

A cardiac arrest occurs when the heart suddenly stops pumping blood around the body. Someone who is having a cardiac arrest will suddenly lose consciousness and will stop breathing, or stop breathing normally, which will lead to death within minutes.

Ben was air-lifted to Stoke Hospital, where he spent several days in intensive care before being fitted with an ICD (implantable cardioverter defibrillator).

Ben Culff

Ben has no memory of his sudden cardiac arrest or the day after, as his mum, Lisa explains: “When we reached the hospital we were told that the next 24 hours would be critical. It was such a shock as it came without warning. The consultant said it was likely to be CPTV – Catecholaminergic Polymorphic Ventricular Tachycardia – which is a congenital heart condition caused by a faulty gene.”

“After being fitted with the ICD, Ben returned home and back to a ‘new normal’. He returned to the sixth form and we celebrated his 18th birthday exactly three months later.”

Ben has not let his condition stop him from doing things other 18-year-olds do, including learning how to drive and taking up karate. He still works part-time as a waiter at Drayton manor hotel while he is studying for his A’ levels. Ben and his family have also found time to raise funds for the Tamworth Have a heart campaign, which successfully led to an AED being installed at Wilnecote train station in November 2017.

As well as the world record attempt there will be an educational seminar and exhibition, and the day is a great opportunity to mingle with others affected by a cardiac arrest. In the evening there will be a ‘celebration of life’ party, with a hog roast and live music.

If you are a sudden cardiac arrest survivor and would like to find out more about being part of the new world record attempt, see the Sudden Cardiac Arrest UK website:  or search out their facebook page.

The registration deadline is Friday 27 April 2018.

This article was supplied to Tamworth Informed by Rachel Unsworth.