The stars of Educating Yorkshire showed their hearty support for children with congenital heart defects – by welcoming a very special future pupil.
Teachers and pupils at Thornhill Community Academy in Dewsbury took part Wear Red Day in aid of a Leeds charity which supports the city’s children’s heart surgery unit.
And they were visited by former patient Georgia Ling, who is also the granddaughter of staff member Jean Skidmore.
Jean, her daughter Rachel Ling – who also attended the school – and Georgia were joined by Katie Bear, mascot of the Children’s Heart Surgery Fund.
Rachel said: “All the staff have known her from when she was born.
“They were all really happy to see her up and about and doing so well.”
The eight-year-old had to fight for her life soon after she was born with a rare combination of heart and abdominal defects.
She has undergone many operations, including heart surgery, and though she will need more in future, is doing well.
Georgia will attend the school where her grandma has worked for many years, firstly in pupil support and now as an exam invigilator.
Rachel, who was a strong supporter of the campaign to keep the LGI unit open, said she was delighted with the support from her old school and across the region.
“It’s fantastic. Hopefully it will raise a lot of money but also a lot of awareness,” she added.
Headteacher Jonny Mitchell said: “We are delighted to support such a deserving charity and know all the funds raised will make a massive difference for many families.”
Thornhill was among more than 100 schools throughout Leeds and beyond who joined the second Wear Red Day as well as offices, shops and other organisations.
Last year cash raised went towards a campaign to overturn the decision to end children’s heart surgery in Leeds, and this year the proceeds will be spent on projects for patients at the LGI unit.
Sharon Cheng, director of Children’s Heart Surgery Fund, said she was thrilled with the success of this year’s event.
“Everybody has been so supportive, it’s been even more successful than last year.
“It’s great to reinforce the message that we are going anywhere.
“This year we are feeling really positive.”