A MOTHER is on a mission to save lives from the 'silent killer' that stole her son.

When Ulrike Rowbottom said goodnight to her son Adam on July 6, 2011, she had no idea that would be the last conversation they would ever have.

She discovered the 23-year-old in bed the following morning, after he had suffered a sudden and fatal cardiac arrest in his sleep.

Ms Rowbottom, who lives in the home they shared in Abingdon, said: "You can't imagine what that was like. He had the proverbial strength of an ox and was a former rugby champion. He was the picture of health."

The 56-year-old has organised free heart screening for youngsters next week to help them avoid the same tragic end, raising awareness of heart conditions that too often go undiagnosed.

She said: "His death shouldn't be in vain. I am trying to turn it into something positive.

"The way I look at it is that Adam is helping to save lives. If you pick it up [earlier] you increase your chance of survival."

About 100 people between 14 and 35-years-old have registered for the test at Peachcroft Christian Centre, involving an ECG that can cost hundreds of pounds in private clinics.

Specialist pathology tests eventually revealed that Mr Rowbottom was born with left ventricular non-compaction; a rare heart muscle disease.

Ms Rowbottom, of Mattock Way, said: "It was a silent killer - a time bomb. He is forever loved and missed beyond words. His absence is like the sky; covering everything.

"He was gregarious and very popular. He was universally liked."

Following his death she set up the Adam Rowbottom Memorial Fund to raise money for screenings, through a charity called Cardiac Risk in the Young (CRY).

Ms Rowbottom said her son had left 'incredible footprints' across the world, noting how he spent months in Ethiopia teaching English at a school.

She said: "That's one of his legacies. Since his untimely death, 120 pupils were able to get a good education [thanks to his fundraising]."

The former Larkmead School pupil was due to leave for London that year to study anthropology at university.

He was known to friends as 'Bodders' and also left behind his dad Peter, and big brother Anthony, 32.

Ms Rowbottom is now the Oxfordshire representative CRY, which carried out a similar screening in Abingdon in 2014.

It detected potentially serious conditions in several people including a 15-year-old boy.

ECG tests are only offered on the NHS to people showing symptoms, but Ms Rowbottom said many heart conditions strike without warning.

Testing on May 3 runs from 9am until 4pm but is currently fully-booked.

Spaces might be available on the day if people drop out - for details visit testmyheart.org.uk.