Legacy of Leeds Hospital Heartbeat Appeal to go on

HONOUR: Alec Bloom, second from right, and his family when he received the MBE.
HONOUR: Alec Bloom, second from right, and his family when he received the MBE.
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A charity which has raised £3m for heart patients across Yorkshire is to wind down its fundraising.

But the legacy of the Hospital Heartbeat Appeal will live on through new annual awards for promising young heart doctors.

The achievements of the charity, which was founded by Alec Bloom 22 years ago, were celebrated at a special lunch on Sunday, May 20.

Mr Bloom said he was pleased: “We have raised £3m on a voluntary basis, which is a very significant sum.”

The charity began life as the Friends of Killingbeck Hospital in 1990, with Mr Bloom starting fundraising after undergoing a heart bypass operation at the Leeds hospital.

The Hospital Heartbeat Appeal was officially launched in 1994 when the late Duke of Devonshire agreed to become president and patron.

Its aims were to raise money for state-of-the-art equipment to enhance the diagnosis, care and treatment of heart patients across Yorkshire.

Since then it has grown to become one of the most well-known heart charities in the region, raising more than £3m and holding countless glitzy events.

These included buying a specialist heart scanner for LGI after teaming up with the YEP to raise £150,000.

In 2008 Mr Bloom stepped down from day-to-day fundraising, with his contribution to the charity having been recognised through various awards including the MBE.

He said that it was one of the few charities to be run solely by volunteers.

“Volunteers have been the backbone of this charity,” he said.

The appeal name will continue through the awards for young doctors, which were announced at the celebration lunch at the Cedar Court Hotel, Harrogate.

Awards will be given to medics who have excelled at heart research and investigation at five Yorkshire hospitals, including the Yorkshire Heart Centre at LGI.

Current president of the Heartbeat Appeal, Lord St Oswald, said: “We would all like to thank Alec for his hard work and dedication to our charity over two decades.”