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Orchard Care Homes Raises Funds for ‘Heart Heroes’ Charities

Helping to boost charity coffers at The Children’s Heart Unit Fund (CHUF), based at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital, Orchard Care Homes has helped one of its carers to raise a total £800 in memory of her beloved granddaughter.

Grateful for the care and compassion given to baby Freya by staff who treat infant ‘heart heroes’ at the unit, Louise Hiles, a care worker at Orchard’s Archers Court home, Sunderland, rallied colleagues and friends last week to raise £400 in memory of her granddaughter (pictured above). The £400 raised at the charity coffee morning has been matched by the Orchard Care Homes group, to total £800 in support of this vital heart unit.

The sum raised was added to the £13,500 donated so far online, as a tribute to baby Freya’s life, who sadly passed away in February, and will also support two other charities – Calli’s Heart Campaign and The Sick Children’s Trust.

Paula Gwyn with her grandchildren
Paula Gwyn with her grandchildren

Louise Hiles, organised a coffee morning and prize draw event at the care home, where she works as an Activities Co-ordinator, to help raise awareness of the local heart unit, which provides support and care for families of babies with cardiac health issues. Sadly, baby Freya, who was diagnosed with a heart condition at 7 months old, passed away in February.

Supporting Louise at the charity drive, were two of her colleagues, who are also familiar with CHUF. By co-incidence, carer, Paula Gwyn and Jackie Smith, senior carer, each have baby relatives who have been helped by the charity. Paula’s granddaughter, Olivia has received treatment at the Children’s Unit for her own heart condition.

In addition, Jackie’s great nephew, Finley is currently attending the Freeman Hospital for regular visits. His family also continue to raise funds for CHUF, who help so many families in the North East. Jackie’s family are proud to have a heart hero, Finley.

Jackie’s great nephew, Finley
Jackie’s great nephew, Finley

The ‘heart hero’ babies spread joy at the event, delighting staff with smiles and cuddles.

Organiser of the event, Louise, says:
“I am so grateful to everyone at Orchard Care Homes’ Archers Court for allowing me to put on this charity event in memory of my precious granddaughter Freya and to help raise awareness of this amazing children’s unit. It’s been a really difficult time for the family, but I am thankful for the love and support from everyone who has donated to CHUF through the event in name of beautiful Freya, and hope that the money raised will be able to help other babies with poorly hearts. The dedicated work from staff at The Freeman Hospital and CHUF baby care unit has been exceptional, and we are so appreciative of everything they have done for Freya, Olivia and Finley and other infants in their care.”

Hayden Knight, CEO, Orchard Care Homes, added:
“When we heard about Louise’s charity event and the motivation behind it, we felt compelled to match the money raised on the day. To have three of our care staff’s infant relatives being supported by CHUF at the Freeman Hospital for heart treatments, means it’s a really personal cause to Orchard. Our sympathies are with Freya’s family, and we hope that our donation in her memory, goes some way to helping other babies with heart conditions.”