Shrewsbury man to lead charity walk for the British Heart Foundation

Wayne Snell, a volunteer at the BHF store in Shrewsbury’s Darwin Centre, has battled heart problems all his life and. Faulty valves in his heart from birth mean he can collapse at any moment.

His condition means he will one day need a heart transplant but since it opened last July the brave 33-year-old from Shrewsbury has worked at the charity’s furniture and electrical store in the Darwin Centre.

The avid Liverpool fan refuses to let it get him down though and he won’t be walking alone as colleagues and supporters join him on the walk from the centre on a heart-shaped route through the town on Friday, February 24.

It’s part of the charity’s nationwide Red For Heart Day and for Kopite Wayne wearing red is second nature.

Wayne, from Monkmoor, Shrewsbury, has congenital heart disease which has meant that since birth he has had to cope with regular visits to hospital and a lifetime of scans and tests.

He said: “Basically I’ve got two faulty valves in my heart, one is too thick and the other doesn’t open and close properly which affects the blood flow.

“It’s in a part of the heart where they can’t operate so at some stage I will need a complete heart transplant unless they come up with some major advance in the next few years.

“It does restrict me quite a bit because of the medication and because I have a tendency to collapse without warning.

“I can go a couple of years without a problem and then collapse completely eight or nine times in six months.”

Darren Hall, manager of the Darwin Centre British Heart Foundation store, said: “We rely heavily on volunteers and Wayne has been with us since we opened in July.

“He sets a brilliant example and he and the others here do a fantastic job helping raise funds for research into heart disease which is still the biggest killer there is in the UK.

“We sell furniture and electrical goods here which are donated and although Wayne can’t do heavy lifting he plays a full part at the store.”

Wayne has been delighted to be involved and he said: “I was the first through the door when the store opened and helped move everything in.

“I worked for eight years in quality control for a firm making car panels in Telford but when it was bought out the new owners closed us down and 300 of us lost our jobs.

“That was two years ago and since then I’ve been unemployed. As soon as employers see heart disease on your CV they slam the door in your face but although I am quite restricted and I can’t drive in case I collapse there’s a lot I can do.

“I’m Liverpool mad and used to go and watch them when I was in work and I’ve travelled a lot, to Cuba, Mexico and Thailand though I could never stay long because of my medication.

You’ll never walk alone – British Heart Foundation volunteer Wayne Snell, front, at the Darwin Centre, Shrewsbury, BHF store with assistant manager James Clarke and Anthony Edwards.
You’ll never walk alone – British Heart Foundation volunteer Wayne Snell, front, at the Darwin Centre, Shrewsbury, BHF store with assistant manager James Clarke and Anthony Edwards.

“I’ve always said I won’t let this beat me and I won’t. I’m not going to sit about at home all day, it would drive me barmy.

“I enjoy working here. I see the other side of the fund-raising from where I am and know how valuable it is.”

Darren Hall added: “We would really like to make February 24 a big day and get the whole town wearing red if we can and hopefully as many people as possible will join us on the walk.

“We’d like to paint the town red and we can supply event packs to anyone who would like to help us.

“Everyone knows someone with heart problems so it is a condition that affects each and every one of us in some way and we want to get people thinking about their hearts.”

For more information about Red For Hearts Day on February 24 and about the services which the British Heart Foundation provide, including furniture collection and house clearances, go to or call 0844 248 9188.