Our History

Children’s Heart Surgery Fund was created in 1988 by Duncan Walker, then a heart surgeon at the old Killingbeck Hospital in Leeds.

Thanks to his fundraising efforts, in 1990 Duncan was given the accolade of Yorkshireman of the Year. Since 1988, Children’s Heart Surgery Fund has awarded over £6 million in grants to the heart unit, its patients and their families.

Between 1999 and 2002, Children’s Heart Surgery Fund awarded £250,000 to Leeds University’s Department of Mechanical Engineering.

The initial grant was grown into much greater funding and helped established a project that led to creation of a York-based company called Tissue Regenix.

This organisation are now leaders in the development of medical devices, including replacement heart valves.

Over recent years, Children’s Heart Surgery Fund has invested significant funding into family accommodation at the Leeds General Infirmary. This has included £410,000 being awarded to the Sick Children’s Trust to build and maintain parental accommodation at Eckersley House.

A few more things about us

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  • Children’s Heart Surgery Fund campaigned against NHS proposals to end children’s heart surgery in Yorkshire – a move that would have meant the region’s young patients being relocated to Newcastle, Birmingham or Liverpool for surgery. After an extraordinary award winning campaign that united the people of the region – including a 600,000-signature petition that was delivered to the Prime Minister – the NHS proposals were rejected by the Health Secretary in 2013.
  • We have made countless grants that have paid for ground-breaking new equipment; resources for the unit; staff training; family accommodation and support; and, many, many more projects. We are extremely grateful to the staff, trustees, supporters and fundraisers who have made this possible.
  • We are proud of our record of impact against our charity’s main objective to help the region’s congenital heart patients and, thanks to your support, we hope to fulfil our aim which is to help support the Leeds Congenital Heart Unit to become a recognised world class centre of excellence. Our latest appeal, Keeping The Beat, is a campaign to raise £500,000 towards a state-of-the-art children’s heart theatre at the LGI which will open in February 2019.