Readers push appeal through £1.5m mark

By Andrew Hutchinson BIG-HEARTED Yorkshire Evening Post readers have helped a charity in the region to reach a major fund-raising milestone.

The Heartbeat Appeal has broken through the 1.5m barrier as it marks a 10 years of successful fundraising.

And YEP readers have played a big part in the charity's success story. They helped to raise more than 150,000 to provide an ultrasound heart scanner for the Yorkshire Heart Centre at Leeds General Infirmary back in 2000.

Alec Bloom, founder and chairman of the Heartbeat Appeal, said he has seen the charity go from strength to strength over the years thanks to the generosity of people around the region.

He said: "There are many people across Yorkshire who owe their lives to the appeal. From small scale beginnings, Heartbeat is now established as one of the most successful independent heart charities operating in West Yorkshire.

"We have received wonderful co-operation from the business community and the general public. Their generous support has enabled Heartbeat to realise its aims of helping the NHS to continue to build on its good work in combating the county's number one killer disease."

The Heartbeat Appeal has benefited from the backing of many celebrities over the years, including Sir Jimmy Savile, Richard Whiteley, Sir Cliff Richard and the late Jill Dando, who served as patron of the appeal.

Major fund-raising events in the Heartbeat calendar are the annual Heartbeat run and celebrity golf days, which have already raised 50,000.

Hospitals to benefit from the appeal over the last decade include St James's Hospital in Leeds; Seacroft Hospital in Leeds; the children's heart surgery unit at the former Killingbeck Hospital, Leeds; St Gemma's Hospice at Moortown in Leeds; Pinderfields Hospital at Wakefield; and St Luke's Hospital in Bradford.

The latest project is raising 150,000 for an additional heart scanner at Bradford Royal Infirmary. The new scanner will add an extra dimension to the hospital's services, enabling doctors for the first time to assess critically ill patients in the intensive care unit and coronary care unit – without compromising the examination of outpatients.