Photo: AF Association charity patron Wayne Barnes refereeing at a recent Rugby Union match.
AF Association welcomes Rugby football Union referee Wayne Barnes, 34, as our newest charity patron.
Wayne, who became a professional referee in 2005, has an acute awareness of atrial fibrillation (AF): he was diagnosed with the condition in 2012.
AF is the most common heart rhythm disorder and raises the risk of stroke five-fold. In 2009 Wayne noticed his heart was beating irregularly and that he was becoming breathless when exercising, unexpected symptoms for someone seemingly so fit and healthy working in a high-intensity sport.
Olympic gold medallist rower Tom James was diagnosed with AF just before the London 2012 Games. The timing of his detection was crucial. If it had been delayed by as little as a week, he would not have made selection, so could have missed out on striking gold at the 2012 Olympics.
AF is a condition that has affected five of his relatives, so although the symptoms have now subsided, Tom is eager to keep a close watch on his health.
He is supporting AF Association to raise awareness of the most common arrhythmia and hereditary prevalence.
Baroness Smith of Gilmorehill
Elizabeth Smith, Baroness of Gilmorehill, was created a life peer of Gilmorehill, a district of Glasgow, in 1995 following the death of her husband, Rt Hon John Smith M.P. who was the Leader of the Labour Party at the time of his early death at the age of 55.
In the 1960s, Baroness Smith was an undergraduate studying Russian at Glasgow University, and subsequently worked for Sir Fitzroy Maclean at The Great Britain - USSR Association. These experiences fostered her life time interest in the (then) USSR, and are reflected in her current positions as Member of the Advisory Council of the Russo-British Chamber of Commerce; Vice-Chair of the UK-Russia group in Parliament; a founding member and Vice-Chair of the UK-Russia Round Table and a trustee of the Mariinsky Theatre.
Baroness Smith also has a keen interest in culture and the arts and is the President of Scotland's National Opera Company, Scottish Opera as well as being Chairman of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. In more recent times, the Baroness's main interest has been with the John Smith Memorial Trust. Set up to honour the memory of her husband and the ideals he stood for.
We are pleased to welcome Baroness Smith as Patron of AFA.
AF Association is delighted to welcome Magne Furuholmen as our new Patron. Magne was diagnosed with AF some 10 years ago but has continued to live a full life writing and touring with the internationally accalimed band 'A-ha'. We will shortly make details of our interview with Magne available on this website.