A GROUP of people from Newport who lost their friend to heart disease are taking on a festive challenge in his memory.

Matthew Lammas, 23, from Allt-yr-yn, lived with the heart condition cardiomyopathy for most of his life. It eventually led to heart failure and, though he underwent a heart transplant three years ago, his new heart failed and he died in hospital on September 22.

Matt’s friends are taking on a five kilometre Santa Jog on December 9 for the British Heart Foundation (BHF) Cymru Cardiff in memory of him.

Jonathan O’Connell, Martin Jones and Luca Desmond are running as a team to raise awareness and funds to help research into new treatments to beat heart disease. Mr O’Connell said: “Matt was much loved and will be very much missed by his family, his many friends and his fiancée Kelly.

“Matt knew that he only had a limited number of years left, but he was grateful for the additional time and experiences that his transplant had given him.

He dedicated himself to making the most of his life and to making a real difference to others in his position.

“He was very selfless and knew others weren’t as lucky as him, so he dedicated himself to raising awareness of the shortcomings of the organ transplant system.

He went to speak at the Houses of Parliament to a group of MPs about his story in support of a reform to the organ donation system in Wales.

“He was also a passionate supporter of BHF Cymru and we hope to continue his work and donate £1,000 to the charity following the Cardiff Santa Jog.”

He added: “If we can stop just one person from going through what Matt did, it will be something.”

To sponsor Matthew’s friends, visit www.justgiving.com/mattlammasfunrun Entry is £12 per adult and £5 for children. For more information, contact 0845 1308663, email events@bhf.org.uk or visit www.bhf.org.uk/Cardiffsantajog