Thomas Frank and Robert Rowan

Brentford fans attending Gunnersbury Park Sports Hub on Saturday to have their heart screened received a surprise visit from Thomas Frank and Christian Eriksen. Fans, staff and volunteers received a boost as Thomas and Christian attended to meet those involved and learn about the initiative taking place in west London.

The heart screenings, organised by the charity Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY) in association with the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust, took place in memory of the Club’s former Technical Director Robert Rowan. Around 200 fans and members of staff from Brentford FC were screened across the weekend, financed by Robert’s memorial fund.

A range of fundraising activity has been taking place in recent years for the fund including the charity challenge A-K-A-DAY which is designed to encourage and support health and wellbeing. It aims to inspire people of all ages and abilities to get out and move for at least 1km each day throughout the month of May.

Club staff have also been involved with Head of Medical, Neil Greig and James Purdue, Head of B Team Athletic Performance, running marathons last year with the Brentford Lifeline Society also contributing. 

Speaking on Saturday, Suzanne Rowan explained her involvement with CRY, “We discovered CRY after Robert passed away in November 2018. We got in touch with them, explained what happened to Robert and did a bit of research to find out more about them. It was perfect support for us. Brentford FC got involved and we’ve been supporting them ever since. 

“They do a lot of good work. They screen young people between 14 and 35. A lot of the money they raise goes towards screenings, research and they also support families as well so they do a lot of important work.”

Thomas Frank, a close friend of Robert’s, hoped that the sessions could help to save lives. “I think it is a very good way of remembering a very good friend of mine. And it’s such an important thing – hopefully these testing days ran by CRY will maybe save one or two lives.”

Christian Eriksen offered his encouragement and stressed the importance of these check-ups and tests. “I think it’s very healthy thing to do. And obviously it’s something that even in my case, something happened like you wouldn’t know was going to happen. So, to get that cleared out the way from a doctor’s perspective is only a positive. To do a test for a few minutes and get everything sorted out and be safe for your family and for everyone else then it is a very positive thing. It’s not only for you, it is for everyone around you.”


  • Robert died suddenly in November 2018 after suffering a fatal cardiomyopathy episode. He is still fondly remembered by all at Brentford FC and the Club has been raising money for CRY at a variety of events over the past three years.
  • Robert had been with Brentford since late 2014 and was appointed as the Club’s Head of Football Operations in the summer of 2015. As well as managing the day-to-day football operations at Brentford’s Jersey Road Training Ground, Robert oversaw the strategic direction of Brentford B – the Club’s elite squad of players aged 17 to 21, before taking on the role of Technical Director.
  • CRY aim to prevent young sudden cardiac deaths through awareness, screening and research, and supporting affected families.
  • Every week in the UK at least 12 young people die of undiagnosed heart conditions. In 80% of cases of young sudden cardiac death there are no prior symptoms of a heart defect.
  • Suzanne will be organising additional screenings in conjunction with CRY north of the border in Kirkcaldy, Fife 9-10July and in Dundee 24-25September.

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