Charity match boosts worthy cause after man's life-saving surgery

Ben Hurren, front centre, with players at the charity football match.

Ben Hurren, front centre, with players at the charity football match. - Credit: Ben Hurren

Friends and teammates of a man who had life-saving heart surgery have united on the football pitch.

Having been "increasingly unwell" for a couple of months at the start of this year, Ben Hurren had one of his heart valves replaced in April after his health deteriorated.

The 37-year-old, from Lowestoft, was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect, and underwent open heart surgery.

Ben Hurren in hospital after his open heart surgery

Ben Hurren in hospital after his open heart surgery. - Credit: Ben Hurren

After the emergency heart surgery, Mr Hurren worked with the manager of his old football team, Craig Aldred, to organise a charity match last month to support the British Heart Foundation (BHF) - with £1,500 raised.

The charity football match saw their old team New House take on Hawthorn FC at Kirkley and Pakefield FC's Walmer Road headquarters, who kindly donated their facilities.

Reflecting on the past year, Mr Hurren said: “I would get out of breath very easily and I was losing weight.

"But as the weeks went by, I continued to feel worse, and it felt like my body was shutting down.

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"I was struggling to walk even short distances without feeling exhausted.

"Then one day, I felt so bad I just decided to take myself into A&E."

In hospital, doctors ran a series of tests and Mr Hurren was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect.

He had been born with a faulty heart valve which was now preventing the correct flow of blood around his body. 

Mr Hurren, who works in adult social care, said: “It was a huge shock.

"The cardiac specialist told me that I needed surgery.

"I asked if that was my only option. He said, if you want to live, then yes.”

Two days later, he had open heart surgery at Papworth Hospital to replace his aortic valve.

“After the operation, I felt better straight away," he said.

"I immediately felt like I could breathe properly."

Ben Hurren, right, with his friend and football team manager Craig Aldred

Ben Hurren, right, with his friend and football team manager Craig Aldred. - Credit: Ben Hurren

While he wasn't able to play in the charity football match as he recovered from the operation, Mr Hurren said: "It was lovely to get everyone together and raise so much money.

"I would also like to thank my partner Paula who really helped with the fundraising."

On average, around 13 babies are born each day with a heart defect – with more diagnoses later in life.

The BHF funds research into conditions like heart failure, stroke, and congenital heart defects, to improve their treatment, prevention and cure.

You can still donate online to support his fundraising.