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BEM for services to health care fundraising: George Johnston

A Portadown man who has devoted his life to raising money to provide better cardiac care facilities also receives a British Empire Medal.

George Johnston, who will be 80 next month, founded the Craigavon Cardiac Care charity 50 years ago.

He has since helped to raise £300,000 for Craigavon Area Hospital to fund the first cardiac care ambulance and a cath lab for the hospital.

Fundraising for a second cardiac care ambulance is also being planned.

The popular former jeweller - who was one of 14 brothers and sisters originally from Co Fermanagh - developed heart problems as a young man.

Later, he understood that lives could be saved if people had quicker and better access to the best available cardiac care.

His brother Tom described how even when George was recovering from a quadruple bypass in Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital in London a few years ago, he was still trying to organise a Christmas lunch for the senior citizens from St Mark's Church of Ireland in Portadown.

Tom said: "That's just George, he's a great man."

Belfast Telegraph