By Vicki Shaw Health Reporter ONE of Yorkshire's biggest charities is going national. Leeds-based National Heart Research Fund has changed its name to Heart Research UK to reflect its new country-wide focus.
The charity, which was formed more than 40 years ago, is now the second largest one of its kind after the British Heart Foundation.
But managers believed its dated name failed to highlight its high-profile work nationally and worldwide.
So a new name, corporate identity and logo has been drawn up.
To complete its transformation, the charity is also creating six regional posts - at Leeds, Birmingham, Scotland, Bristol, North West, and Southampton - to raise awareness and funds across nationwide.
Heart Research UK national director Barbara Harpham said: "All our projects have contributed to improving and saving the lives of countless people threatened by heart disease.
"The future of this charity is to continue to fund groundbreaking research all over the country that will benefit thousands and, ultimately, millions of people all over the world."
National Heart Research Fund was founded in 1967 by Dr David Watson, a heart surgeon who realised that patients were dying unnecessarily because of the lack of research into the disease, especially surgical techniques.
It went on to have a hand in major developments such as transplants and artificial valves.
The fund paid for six of the first eight transplant operations done by Sir Terence English at Papworth Hospital in Cambridge.
Since then the charity has become a world respected and vital contributor in heart research.
It has met the cost of nearly 3m of research projects at 23 hospitals and 25 universities in the last five years.
One of the biggest projects it funded included the world's first permanent artificial heart pump.
The 70,000 device was fitted in patient Peter Houghton in June 2000 and is still working. He was in this year's Guinness Book of World Records for being the longest surviving man with an artificial heart.
Its most recent project is also set to attract global headlines.
With support from Heart Research UK, scientist Dr Peter Walker is developing an artificial muscle that could potentially end all heart failure.
Ms Harpham added: "The whole ethos of this charity is innovative and pioneering work.
"This is not only with our medical research that breaks new ground all the time and gives young researchers the first step on the research ladder but also with our healthy lifestyle grants that really encourage people from all sectors of society to eat healthier diets, take more exercise and stop smoking."