In March 1979, my son Andrew had been in the Freeman Hospital for five months suffering from a very complex heart condition. I had heard about a meeting that was to take place in the Teaching Centre; it was the start of a charity being formed by a lovely lady, Ann Scott, who had very sadly just lost a second child to a heart condition. That evening the Lesley Ann Scott Memorial Fund was founded, I joined the committee and pledged my help to raise £70,000 for a much-needed Phased Array Scanner; this new innovative piece of equipment was to change how a diagnosis was made without invasive procedures. Ann Scott and Dr Stewart Hunter, in their own time, visited many working men’s clubs and other venues to tell people about the work of the unit and this money was raised quite rapidly, thanks to the generosity of the people in the North East. Over the next four years the charity gained more members and raised more money for various pieces of equipment.
In 1983, Ann Scott decided to retire and requested that we change the name of the charity and the Children’s Heart Unit Fund (CHUF) was created. With the donation of a caravan, which was refurbished and decorated with the CHUF logo by grateful parents, we toured the North East and North Yorkshire attending fetes and fairs making people aware of the charity and the wonderful work being done at the Freeman.
In 1989, a very kind business man Brian Burnie decided to help us fundraise and he held The Biggest Children’s Party in The World on Exhibition Park, he pulled off an amazing day and raised over £450,000 which was used to provide our own dedicated surgeon Mr Leslie Hamilton.
Mr Hamilton’s arrival at The Freeman meant that children who needed more complex surgery no longer had to travel to Great Ormond Street Hospital
In 1990, we held the first CHUF River Boat Shuffle on the Tyne which was a huge success leading to many more on an annual basis.
1991 – the first golf tournament was held at Washington Golf Club, many more were held at different venues over the years. Pictured below, two of our very first winning team members from Potterton Myson with Susan Jackson.
2000 – The first children’s “Toddle” was successfully organised by the late Lorraine Embleton, who was the Administrator for CHUF, this is still a very successful annual event.
In 2014, after many years of dreaming and planning by the fundraising Committee and Trustees the parents accommodation Scott House eventually opened, CHUF donated £1.65 million to the build and thanks to another very fine Northerner Graham Wylie we were able to raise the money and each and every one of the 18 bedrooms was sponsored by local business and grateful parents, very fittingly it was a unanimous decision that the house should be named after Ann Scott who started it all back in 1979.
For 37 years, since its inauguration, it has been a pleasure and an honour to have been involved with CHUF as a Committee Member, Secretary, Chairman and Honorary President, being able to give a little back to Freeman Hospital for all they have given our family!
Children's Heart Unit Fund - CHUF
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CHUF is a registered charity in England and Wales No 1160831 © 2023.