Supporters fighting to keep children’s heart surgery in Leeds are to demand NHS bosses ‘have a heart’ through a new fundraising drive.
From next Friday (Feb 1), 10,000 heart badges will go on sale throughout the city in a final bid to raise cash for an upcoming legal challenge to the controversial decision.
The case brought by the Save Our Surgery (SOS) campaign will be heard at the High Court in February – and funding is still needed to pay for the action.
Sharon Cheng, of Save Our Surgery, said: “We are incredibly grateful for the overwhelming support already given to us by people across the region.
“The Have A Heart Appeal is a new and easy way for people to get involved and help us raise funds as we get ever closer to our court challenge in February.”
NHS bosses decided last summer that children’s heart surgery should move away from Leeds General Infirmary as part of a national shake-up.
Following a review of all hospitals who offer the service, experts said they wanted to reduce the number of units, not to save money but to make care safer as surgeons would treat higher numbers so surgery was more likely to be successful.
The move sparked a huge outcry and in autumn the Government announced an independent review of the decision, which is due to publish recommendations in March.
Meanwhile the judicial review will take place in London from February 11, with SOS challenging the legality of the decision to close the Leeds unit.
Fundraising has been ongoing for the past few months and now it is hoped the lapel badges featuring the SOS logo will swell the coffers further.
The heart badges will go on sale for £1 each on February 1 and will be available from shopping centres and supermarkets across Yorkshire.
Ms Cheng said they were hoping thousands of people would wear the badges to demonstrate their support – and they were also looking for helpers to assist in selling the badges.
“As well as asking people to buy the badges, we also need as many volunteers and businesses as possible to help sell them and raise further awareness of our campaign,” she added.
Tickets are still available for the Heart to Heart Valentine Benefit Ball, which will also raise cash for the appeal.
The event takes place on February 9 at the National Railway Museum in York, with Pudsey MP Stuart Andrew due to turn auctioneer at the event to auction some top lots.
There will also be entertainment, including a performance by live band the Bogus Brothers.
Tickets cost £50 each and to buy them, contact 07951 187701 or email@example.com.
Anyone who would like to volunteer to sell the heart badges should contact Matt Cassell on 0113 3925907.
Alternatively to make a donation to SOS, send donations to Save Our Surgery, Room 001, Ground floor, Old Nurses Home, LGI, Leeds, LS1 3EX or visit: www.saveoursurgery.net/donate