Heart charity seeks Harrogate volunteers

The HRUK campaign features Rugby League player Adrian Purtell, who had a heart attack in 2012, with four year old Riley Platts who has had a number of operations to correct a congenital heart defect.
The HRUK campaign features Rugby League player Adrian Purtell, who had a heart attack in 2012, with four year old Riley Platts who has had a number of operations to correct a congenital heart defect.

A national charity is calling for people in Harrogate to spare some tome to volunteer and help sufferers of the single biggest killer disease in the UK.

Heart Research UK, is using National Volunteering Week (June 1-5) to call for more local “champions” throughout North Yorkshire to support its work in the prevention, treatment and cure of heart disease.

Because coronary heart disease affects people all over the UK, and is still our single biggest killer, we need people from all corners of the country and in-between to join our team.

Fran Shilton, Heart Research UK’s Head of Fundraising Income

The volunteering campaign is being backed by Harrogate woman Kerry Morrison whose 27-year-old daughter, Lynda, received a donated heart in a transplant at the Freeman Hospital, Newcastle nearly 21 years ago when she was just seven and suffering from cardiomyopathy.

Kerry Morrison, of Woodlands Close, Harrogate said: “Volunteering is such a fulfilling activity as it is helping the charity in its work in funding research into new treatments and techniques to help heart patients. Charities rely on volunteers, so it would be good if more people could come forward and support Heart Research UK in whatever way you can.”

The charity, which funds over £1m a year on research into heart disease, and over £100,000 on community heart-healthy projects, is having its biggest volunteer recruitment drive ever to get more people to help with its fundraising and to be a Heart Research UK representative locally.

Heart Research UK has spent over £2.5m in Yorkshire on research projects in the last 10 years and nearly £500,000 on community healthy heart projects - £21,000 in North Yorkshire - in the same period.

Kerry and her family have been helping Heart Research UK with its annual Sing for Your Heart campaign as well as acting as ambassadors for the charity at local events.

The Heart Research UK campaign also features Bradford Bulls Rugby League player Adrian Purtell, who had a heart attack in 2012, and four-year-old Riley Platts who has had a number of operations to correct a congenital heart defect.

Volunteers can carry out a number of useful roles including helping at street and supermarket collections, looking after collecting cans in their local area, helping at events or even organising their own event such as coffee mornings or tea parties.

Fran Shilton, Heart Research UK’s Head of Fundraising Income, said: “Volunteering is an extremely rewarding experience and we can offer you a role that will complement your life, fit in around your usual day and give you a huge sense of fulfilment and experience.

“Because coronary heart disease affects people all over the UK, and is still our single biggest killer, we need people from all corners of the country and in-between to join our team of fantastic volunteers. So whether you only have a couple of hours to spare a week or have more time to offer on a regular basis we’ve got a role at Heart Research UK to suit you.”

She added: “We have a role for everyone and would encourage supporters to get in touch as you’ll be making a difference by helping us in your local area.”

Heart Research UK, which has been helping hearts since 1967, paid for six of the first eight successful heart transplants in the UK. In the last 10 years it has spent over £10.6m in in hospitals and universities across the UK as well as £1.2m on community-based lifestyle projects that aim to prevent or reduce the risks of heart disease. What’s raised locally is spent near you.

The charity is also running a Helping Little Hearts campaign aimed at creating a rehabilitation toolkit so that all young heart patients leaving hospital have their own personal exercise prescription so they know what type of fitness and lifestyle regime they can follow.

Anyone who wants to be a “champion” and volunteer for Heart Research UK should speak to the fundraising team on 0113 297 6212 or e-mail at: community@heartresearch.org.uk