School children aim to raise smiles on Leeds heart surgery unit

CREATIVE ARTWORK to help cheer up young hospital visitors with serious heart conditions has been produced by a group of North Yorkshire schoolchildren.

Seven-year-old Alice Baldwin hangs her painting of a great family day out in the Valley Gardens on the wall of the newly-refurbished heart unit playroom at Leeds General Infirmary. Pic: Jonathan Gawthorpe.

Pupils from Belmont Grosvenor prep school in Birstwith near Harrogate rose to the challenge of a competition to paint scenes to a ‘Family days out in Yorkshire’ theme and the winners were yesterday invited to the children’s heart surgery unit at Leeds General Infirmary to hang up their framed artwork.

The paintings add extra colour to a newly-refurbished playroom on the ward, which was declared open by pupils who cut a ceremonial ribbon.

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Gail Bland, the school’s charities co-ordinator, said: “We are delighted that our pupils’ artwork will help brighten up this very important part of the hospital.”

The school has chosen the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund as its nominated charity for 2015 after drama teacher Catherine Fearn’s one-year-old nephew Jack Hartley underwent life-saving surgery at the unit when he was just weeks old.

The charity operates to fund equipment, staff posts, resources and training at the unit, which is used by 10,000 babies and children each year.