Tributes to Lowestoft man who never gave up

TRIBUTES have been paid to a Lowestoft man who raised thousands of pounds to support the hospitals that treated his serious heart condition.

Jason Rice was born with a serious heart defect and battled all his life to overcome his illness and play a full part in the local community.

Sadly, Jason died at the National Heart Hospital on June 4 at the age of 35.

He endured many operations throughout his childhood, but always had a positive outlook on life.

As he got older he was determined to raise funds for Great Ormond Street Hospital where he had at least five major heart operations.

His mother, Catherine Turrell, said: 'We were all so proud of Jason and the way he would not let his illness get him down.

'He was determined that he would provide for himself and was able to secure a full-time job which he held down all his life.

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'There was no way he was going to accept he was so ill and had to rely on benefits.'

Jason had an outgoing personality and made many friends in the Lowestoft area.

His courage and determination had been covered over the years with reports and pictures in The Journal.

In 1999, Jason had a further major operation when he was 22 years old to replace valves in his heart.

Although valve replacement is a relatively common procedure, it was much more complicated for Jason because of his congenital heart disease.

Jason recognised the risks but was determined to go ahead with the operation.

'I have been clearly warned about the risks but as far as I am concerned the benefits of having the operation far outweigh and risk,' he told The Journal.

He was able to make a full recovery from the operation and, in 2007, married Catherine Read in a ceremony at the Little Flowers Chapel in Las Vegas.

Jason's stepfather Rick Turrell is currently compiling a book of memories featuring the many cuttings of Jason from The Journal, and other recollections from a life lived to the full.

Mr Turrell would like to hear from Jason's many friends who have their own stories to tell about him.

His funeral was held at Gorleston Crematorium on Tuesday this week.

Donations for the Grown Up Congenital Heart Patients Association (GUCH) can be made via Rivetts Ltd, 15 Carlton Road, Lowestoft NR33 0RU.