Nine month old surgery patient Jack helps school launch Leeds heart fund appeal

Rebecca Hartley and her son Jack help launch school fundraising drive.
Rebecca Hartley and her son Jack help launch school fundraising drive.
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A NINE month old boy who had life saving heart surgery has helped to inspire young pupils to raise money for the unit which treated him at Leeds General Infirmary.

North Yorkshire heart patient Jack Hartley visited Belmont Grosvenor School to help launch the school’s fund-raising campaign for Leeds’ Children’s Heart Surgery Fund (CHSF).

Nine-month-old Jack, whose aunt is a teacher at the co-educational prep school, had life-saving heart surgery at Leeds when he was just 14-weeks old.The youngster is now a happy and healthy toddler – and was delighted to meet pupils and staff at Belmont Grosvenor, in Birstwith, Harrogate, who have committed to raise funds for the CHSF this year.

Jack’s mum Rebecca Hartley, who lives in Knaresborough, praised the school for launching the fund-raising campaign – and helping children like Jack.

She said: “We are extremely grateful for all the help and support that we received from the charity while Jack was in hospital having his operation. And we are delighted that Belmont Grosvenor has decided to fund-raise for such a great cause,” she said. “We were incredibly lucky with Jack. He had his operation and has now had the all-clear. We had so much support from the charity, we want to help raise as much money as possible,”

Jack’s aunt, Catherine Fearn, is drama co-ordinator at Belmont Grosvenor, and she was on hand to introduce her nephew to pupils. “

CHSF’s chief executive Sharon Coyle and Community Fundraiser Myriam Barker also attended, to help launch the fundraising effort.

Around 400 children undergo open heart surgery at the Yorkshire heart unit at the Leeds General Infirmary each year – and 10,000 babies and children use the

unit each year.

The charity funds equipment, staff posts, resources and training for those who work on the heart wards, and support patients and their families.

“We are thrilled that Belmont Grosvenor School has decided to fundraise for us this year. We are wholly self-funded so the support of the local community is vital for us.

“We hope that as well as fund-raising, our link with Belmont Grosvenor School

will help raise awareness of congenital heart disease,” said Ms Coyle.

Belmont Grosvenor School, which along with its Magic Tree Nursery cares for children from three months to 11 years, has raised thousands of pounds in recent years for local charities, including Harrogate Homeless Project, Carers’ Resource and Yorkshire Cancer Research.

Gail Bland, the school’s charities co-ordinator said Jack’s visit to the school had given pupils a real understanding of the support offered by the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund at Leeds.

She said: “All our pupils are determined to raise as much money as possible by taking part in a wide range of activities throughout the year to help children and their families who are facing heart surgery in Yorkshire