Legendary umpire Dickie Bird donates £20,000 to Leeds Children's Heart Surgery Fund

Thousands of pounds has been donated to help poorly youngsters with heart problems by the legendary cricket umpire Dickie Bird.

Mr Bird, who umpired dozens of international matches, presented a cheque for £20,000 to the Leeds Children's Heart Surgery Fund (CHSF) today (Tuesday).

The cash will help pay for life-saving equipment, accommodation for parents visiting children in hospital, clinical research and ward facilities.

Mr Bird made the donation during a visit to Leeds Children's Hospital, where he met youngsters including five-year-old Iris Lunt, from Menston, who is recovering from surgery.

20,000 was donated.

Iris was diagnosed with coarctation of the aorta last year and her dad Matt has raised around £2,500 for CHSF after running the Greater Manchester Marathon.

He said: “It was great to meet Dickie today and I’m pleased he has donated to such a fantastic cause.

“Iris has had a tough time but we’re incredibly grateful to the children’s hospital here in Leeds and CHSF for giving her the best possible treatment.”

Mr Bird previously donated £30,000 to CHSF in November 2017 and became an ambassador for the charity.

Dickie Bird at Leeds Children's Hospital.

He said: "I can’t think of a better use of my money than helping babies and children in my home county who need heart surgery to survive.

“Every time I visit the heart ward, I’m humbled to meet youngsters and their families facing the huge battles ahead with smiles on their faces.

“Their incredible bravery underlines why everyone should get behind this tremendous cause.”

Mr Bird's first donation went towards specialist equipment for a state-of-the-art “hybrid” cardiac facility at Leeds Children’s Hospital which was opened by the Countess of Wessex and will treat its first patient this month.

Dickie Bird chats to Jamie Young and baby son Toby.

At today's event Julian Hartley, chief executive of Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “This is a fantastic donation that really goes a long way to supporting the great work of CHSF and directly helps the young patients cared for by our dedicated teams.

“I’m very grateful to Dickie for his generosity towards this important cause.”