North West residents left £6.7m to British Heart Foundation in their Wills last year

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Residents in the North West are helping to fund life-saving research carried out by The British Heart Foundation after leaving more £6.7m to charity in their Wills in 2017, according to latest figures.

With more than a quarter of all cardiovascular research in the UK funded by amazing individuals who have remembered the BHF in their Will, new treatments have been discovered causing the death rate for heart and circulatory disease to more than half over the last 50 years, with significant reductions in the North West.

But, with the disease still responsible for approximately one in four deaths in the region, killing around 17,769 people every year, more research is needed to continue to improve treatments for people living with heart and circulatory disease.

“Our life-saving work simply wouldn’t be possible if people didn’t choose to remember us in such a special way," said Simon Gillespie, Chief Executive at the British Heart Foundation. "The families of those who have left a gift to the BHF should feel extremely proud of the difference their loved ones have made.

"We’ve come a long way over the last 57 years with help from these incredible gifts, but heart conditions still devastate families on a daily basis in the North West and we desperately need people’s continued support to help us to keep funding research to improve treatments further," he added.

In a new poll of over 65s, 23% of those in the North West said they do not have a Will, with 77% saying this was because they have not “got round to doing it." And despite 37% saying they would consider leaving a gift in their Will to charity, only 20% follow through to make their wishes clear.

Bernard Keavney, BHF Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, University of Manchester, said: “My research focuses on how differences in the genes we inherit from our parents can increase our risk of cardiovascular disease. Finding these genes will help us develop new ways of detecting and treating heart disease before it strikes, which would help thousands of families worldwide.

"It’s thanks to all the very generous people who have remembered the British Heart Foundation in their Will that research like mine has been possible," he added. "I would like to say a most sincere thank you to all those who have already decided to support the BHF by making a gift in their Will.

"I would also encourage anyone making or revising their Will to think about doing the same, so we can make further medical breakthroughs and save more lives.”

The BHF is offering a free Will writing service, which allows supporters to have their will written or amended by a solicitor in their local area. After providing for loved ones, you might wish to include a gift in your Will to the charity and make a lasting difference for generations to come. For more information on the BHF’s free Will writing service please visit bhf.org.uk/wills, call 0207 554 0330, or email legacies@bhf.org.uk