Leeds United help boost battle to save heart unit

HEARTFELT PLEA: Back row, from left, Jason Pearce, Carmen Greene, Michael Tonge, Emma Emmerson and David Norris; bottom row, Ciaran Greene and Aidan Greene.

HEARTFELT PLEA: Back row, from left, Jason Pearce, Carmen Greene, Michael Tonge, Emma Emmerson and David Norris; bottom row, Ciaran Greene and Aidan Greene.

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Leeds United players put sporting allegiances to one side as they backed the Wear Red for a Day campaign.

The club urged fans to don red items of clothing to help raise funds and awareness for the SOS appeal to save the Children’s Heart Unit at Leeds General Infirmary.

Three Leeds sisters organised the day in support of the Save Our Surgery (SOS) campaign.

Carmen Emmerson, of Scholes, Leeds, discovered in October that her five-year-old son Ciaran had a congenital heart defect and will need surgery next year.

She and sisters Emma and Theresa masterminded the fundraising day for the campaign to keep children’s heart surgery in Leeds. Carmen said: “Unless you have a child or are close to a child that’s used the Leeds service you simply don’t know about it. Raising awareness is vital to supporting the unit and taking it to the masses.”

A Leeds United spokesman said: “Now, we know it’s not something Leeds United would normally encourage, but the club are urging as many fans as possible, young and old, to wear something red for just one day to help towards this great cause.”

The Leeds General Infirmary Unit is under threat after NHS bosses said its services should be moved to Newcastle instead.

A review of the decision is under way while campaigners in Leeds have launched a legal challenge. Fundraising is now under way by the SOS campaign to pay for the judicial review.

Office workers across the region and youngsters at more than 80 schools across Yorkshire and the Humber also wore red to support the campaign.

Each school was paired with a local business and the amount the school raises will be matched by the business.

All 1,800 students at St Wilfrid’s Catholic High School and Sixth Form College in North Featherstone wore an item of red clothing yesterday and expect to have raised around £1,500.

20 October 2003...Leeds General Infirmary in Great George Street, Leeds. Story Jim  Seton.

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