Scots left more than £3.8 million in their wills last year to fund life-saving heart research, according to a leading charity.
Latest figures from the British Heart Foundation (BHF) show the highest donation in Scotland in 2017 was just over £223,000. The heart charity says that more than a quarter of all cardiovascular research in the UK is funded by the individuals who have remembered the BHF in their will.
Partly thanks to new treatments discovered by this research, the death rate for heart and circulatory disease in the UK has more than halved over the last 50 years, with significant reductions in Scotland. But the disease is still responsible for approximately one in four deaths in Scotland, killing around 15,305 people every year. The BHF says far more research is needed to continue to improve treatments for people living with heart and circulatory disease.
In a new poll of over-65s, nearly a fifth (19 per cent) of those in Scotland said they don’t have a will. Over half (58 per cent) of these people said this was because they haven’t “got round to doing it”. Almost a third (31 per cent) said they would consider leaving a gift in their will to charity, but less than a fifth (14 per cent) have followed through to make their wishes clear.
Prof Rhian Touyz, of the Glasgow Cardiovascular Research Centre, University of Glasgow, said: “My team and I are studying dangerous molecules which damage the inner lining and wall of blood vessels, increasing people’s risk of a heart attack or stroke. We’re working to develop new treatments that could protect vessels from damage and reduce people’s risk of cardiovascular disease.
“It’s thanks to the incredible individuals who have remembered the British Heart Foundation in their will that research like this has been possible. I would like to say a huge thank you to all those who have already decided to support the BHF in this special way and encourage everyone to consider doing the same, so we can make further medical breakthroughs and save more lives.”
Simon Gillespie, chief executive at the British Heart Foundation, said: “Without doubt, the amazing individuals who have remembered us in their will have contributed to treatments for heart disease that are today saving lives in the Scotland. Half of our income comes from gifts left in Wills.”