A fit and healthy young man died suddenly after collapsing while out jogging.

Joe Parkinson got home from work as a BT engineer and immediately went out for a run, like the 21-year-old always did.

Hours passed by, and his family grew increasingly worried when he didn't return to his home in Prescot.

It wasn't until much later that they discovered Joe had taken seriously ill and rushed to hospital where he sadly died.

Now, his family have spoken out for the first time about the tragedy which happened seven years ago, in February 2012.

 

And it comes as Joe's sister, Holly, has successfully managed to source a life-saving defibrillator to be kept at her woman's football club stadium in Toxteth.

Vivienne Nicholls, Holly Parkinson and Neil Lancaster with the defibrillator
Vivienne Nicholls, Holly Parkinson and Neil Lancaster with the defibrillator

Holly, 26, a teaching assistant in a special needs school, said: "We were all starting to worry and around midnight we got a phone call to say that he had been found collapsed and taken to hospital where he passed away.

“Joe had been diagnosed with a bicuspid aortic valve which has no symptoms and was totally undetected.

“Had a defibrillator been nearby, Joe could have still been here with us now and received treatment.”

 

The 21-year-old was a regular at his gym and had no known illnesses.

His sister added: "Joe was a popular lad, he loved to socialise, getting the mums up to dance, and loved his holidays and his designer clothes.

"After he died, we had people coming to the house, who had met him just once, telling us how they he had touched their lives.

Joe Parkinson, 21, who died after going out for a jog in Prescot
Joe Parkinson, 21, who died after going out for a jog in Prescot

"Joe was a young, fit man who had his whole life in front of him.

"It doesn't make any sense."

Holly has already managed to raise cash for defibrillators which are now housed at Mossley Hill Athletics Club, Wavertree Athletics stadium and at an Everton in the Community site.

 

His family have been told how Joe's death would have been "like the flick of a switch, with him feeling a bit faint before he fell unconscious".

The defibrillator in his honour, donated by a washroom products company, will be kept at Admiral Park in Toxteth, the home stadium of Merseyrail Ladies.

The club is sponsored by the local rail operator who have defibrillators in every single one of their stations.

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Paul Bowen, deputy managing director of Merseyrail, said: “We are incredibly proud to sponsor and work so closely with such a pioneering club as Merseyrail Ladies FC.

“Women’s football is the fastest growing sport in the country and it is a pleasure to be able to support a team that represents the game so well.

“At Merseyrail we are committed to the safety of - not only our passengers - but the wider community, and value the importance of the availability of defibrillators across the region.”

Holly added: “It’s amazing that the club have supported our awareness raising and have now got their own defibrillator.

 

“People are now taking notice – I think it has hit home because Joe was so young, fit and healthy.”

“Everyone in grassroots and amateur sports should have a defibrillator, especially as it’s something that people don’t think kids need.

“Twelve young people die every week from a heart condition - and if something happens on a playing field, that defibrillator could be the difference between life and death.”

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Neil Lancaster, Chairman of Merseyrail Ladies FC, said: “Cardiac issues are more prevalent in young people than we realise, and if having the defibrillator at the stadium can save one person’s life then it is absolutely worth it.”

Vivienne Nicholls, account manager at Concept Hygiene, added: “This device can increase the chance of survival from cardiac arrest by up to 80 per cent and ensures that the team, supporters and all staff are rescue ready."