Mermaids Gin sponsorship is just the tonic for Wessex Heartbeat

The Isle of Wight Distillery, maker of Wight Mermaids Gin, is to support the cardiac charity Wessex Heartbeat in 2018.

Wessex Heartbeat, now in its 25th year, has raised almost £16m for the Wessex Cardiac Unit at Southampton General Hospital, funding projects including the Young Adult Cardiac Centre and a £1 million refurbishment of the children’s ward.

The Isle of Wight Distillery will support the charity throughout year by staging gin tastings at its fundraising events and donating gin for its raffles and auctions.

The Isle of Wight Distillery is the island’s only still and was founded by friends Xavier Bakerand Conrad Gauntlett in 2015.

Situated in Ryde, it will produce 50,000 bottles of Wight Mermaids Gin this year, using locally grown elderflower, rock samphire and Boadicea hops, which are grown at the Ventnor Botanic Garden.

Xavier Baker said: “Wessex Heartbeat works tirelessly to support the groundbreaking cardiac unit at Southampton Hospital, which provides life-saving treatment to many Isle of Wight residents each year.

“The charity also organises many high profile events such as Balls, celebration dinners and Golf Days which marry very well with our products, so it’s a great partnership for us all.”

James Harwood from Seaview on the Isle of Wight is a patient of the Wessex Cardiac Unit, due to the congenital condition DiGeorge Syndrome.

The syndrome is caused by the abnormal formation of certain tissues during foetal development, and often results in heart problems.

James, a 38-year-old, part time bank porter was born with a leaky aortic valve and has undergone several rounds of corrective surgery.

He said: “I’ve had fantastic treatment from Dr Salmons and his team and it was Lynda and Mel the congenital heart nurses who introduced me to Wessex Heartbeat and the amazing work they do.

“I know there are many other people from the Island who have had life-saving treatment at the cardiac unit, so I was really glad to hear that the distillery is supporting the charity’s work.”

Ken Wilde, Wessex Heartbeat’s commercial manager said: “We were absolutely thrilled when the Distillery offered to support us.

“They are small business building a great reputation for themselves and I’m sure their gin will be a huge hit at our fundraising events.”

For information on how to support Wessex Heartbeat in 2018 please contact: 023 8070 6095 or visit:

Picture caption: CHEERS! – (from left) Xavier Baker, joint founder of the Isle of Wight Distillery, James Harwood from Seaview, Isle of Wight, who is a patient at the Wessex Cardiac Unit and Ken Wilde, commercial manager of Wessex Heartbeat.

Wessex Heartbeat also runs Heartbeat House which is situated opposite Southampton General Hospital and offers accommodation for the families of children and adults being treated at the Wessex Cardiac Centre, for as long as they need it.

Media information from Debbie Granville at Deep South Media on: 07884 657782 or email: