How it all started
Early 1981 Mr Reg Harvey from Clacton-on-Sea had heart surgery at Papworth Hospital and realised there wasn’t anywhere in the country to help major heart surgery patients and their families to cope with the trauma of such operations.
He wrote to Christine Webber, an Anglia Television presenter, and asked if she would be interested in helping to form such a group.
So, in April 1981 Christine mentioned on TV about an attempt to form a Zipper Club in East Anglia and arranged a meeting in Colchester at the end of April so see if there was enough interest.
There was a good attendance from all over East Anglia and a group was formed “The East Anglian Cardiac patients Assoc. — Zipper Club” (EACPA)
Christine agreed to be Patron and Reg Harvey was elected Chairman. Also at the meeting were Arthur & Una Elliott, Arthur having had surgery at Papworth. Co-ordinators to cover East Anglian regions ; Bedford, Cambridge, Essex, Norfolk, Northampton and Suffolk were appointed.
It soon became clear this was not really working. Cambridge, set up the Cambridgeshire Cardiac Patients Assoc—Zipper Club (CCPA) with Fred Roach as Chairman. Reg Harvey resigned as Chairman of the EACPA and in April 1982 at the AGM the EACPA was disbanded as no longer effective.
Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and Northampton formed their own Cardiac Patients Association. Peterborough and Bedford became part of the CCPA although Peterborough became an Area Group in 1982 and Bedford in 1984.