Yorkshire worst for heart disease death rates

Barnsley father Tony Surgey, a retired police officer, is among those backing the British Heart Foundation's 'Heart of Steel'. The 52-year-old, diagnosed with a heart tumour, engraved his father in law's name on the steel sculpture.
Barnsley father Tony Surgey, a retired police officer, is among those backing the British Heart Foundation's 'Heart of Steel'. The 52-year-old, diagnosed with a heart tumour, engraved his father in law's name on the steel sculpture.

Thousands of families across Yorkshire are fighting back in the wake of warnings that the region has the highest death rate in England for coronary heart disease.

Every month, around 1,100 people in Yorkshire are killed by heart and circulatory diseases, with death rates in the region around 10 per cent higher than the national average.

The British Heart Foundation, under it's Heart of Steel campaign, last year launched a sculpture to signal the region's fight against heart and circulatory disease.

Following a day of action, this steel heart is now backed by tens of thousands of local families across the region, to be engraved with the names of 34,200 loved ones.

"With each new engraving we’re able to fund even more vital research to improve the lives of people living with heart and circulatory diseases across the UK, whilst allowing our supporters to celebrate and honour their loved ones," said Donna Spriggs Elliott, director of community fundraising at the BHF.

The sculpture at the Meadowhall Shopping Centre, standing 2.4m high and crafted entirely from Yorkshire steel, signals the region's fight as well as commemorating the area's steel history.

“We hope that as the names of more and more Yorkshire residents make their way on to the Heart, it will become part of the lifeblood of South Yorkshire; a source of community pride and vitality," adds Ms Spriggs Elliott.

Someone dies from heart and circulatory diseases every three minutes in the UK, the BHF says, equating to 460 deaths a day, and 17,000 every year.

Yorkshire has topped the death rate tables since 2011, with the highest rates in the region being in Hull (334 per 100,000), Scarborough (327 per 100,000), Bradford (300 per 100,000), Leeds (288 per 100,000) and North East Lincolnshire (285 per 100,000).

The Heart of Steel is part of an ongoing project led by sculptor, Steve Mehdi, to build The Steel Man, a commemorative piece for the men and women of the steel industry.

So far, it has raised raised £540,000 for the British Heart Foundation.

There are 150,000 spaces for people to engrave their name on the Heart of Steel, or the name of a loved one, for a donation of £20 to the charity.