A local charity is offering survivors of heart problems life changing support.

Early deaths from heart disease are 40 per cent higher in Salford than the national average.

Salford Heart Care runs the EcclesHealthy Heart Club‘ weekly to give survivors crucial support.

Marion El-Qasem, 80, from Salford has been working for Salford Heart Care for 20 years.

She said: “It aims to help people manage their conditions, heart care and prevention of heart problems. And also social inclusion to get people out.”

Marion El-Qasem, Salford Heart Care Volunteer. Image Credit: Eleni Evangelinos

The group, which has around 70 members, runs exercises including cardio, yoga and tai chi to promote a healthy lifestyle.

They also have weekly blood pressure monitoring and talks from NHS staff and pharmacists.

Ms El-Qasem believes heart disease is so common in Salford because people in deprived areas “don’t get a lot of money and they don’t eat the right kind of foods.”

She suggests the council could help by “educating people more and see that they get more benefits or encourage them to work.”

David Royale and Anne Royale. Image Credit: Eleni Evangelinos

David Royale, 68, had open heart surgery in 2009 after his issues with pericarditis.

He has been attending the Eccles healthy heart club for nearly seven years and says it helps combat isolation.

Mr Royale said:

“I’m alright because I’ve got family. But if you’re on your own you’re going to be stuck at home and some people can just withdraw.”

On the cause of the Salford epidemic, he said: “We do have factories emit a lot of stuff, which I don’t think helps. It’s not clean air.”

Gordon McKay, 81, had a triple bypass after suffering a heart attack before work one day.

He now has a pacemaker after getting diagnosed with arrhythmia.

On the recovery process Mr McKay said: “I thought it was lovely being at home not having to get up at four o’clock in the morning.

“But within a fortnight I was clawing at the walls.”

He joined Salford Heart Care after seeing an advert in his local library.

Mr McKay said: “It gets me out of the house, it keeps me busy, mobile and also it’s something my wife could join as well so we are together.

“I love meeting people.”

The Healthy Heart club relies on funding from grants and hold raffles, bingo and bric-a-brac sales.

Bric-a-brac stall. Image Credit: Eleni Evangelinos

The group is held at Patricroft URC community hall every Tuesday from 10am to 12pm.

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