We caught up with trustee Graham Berks, to find out how he became involved with our charity and what it means to him.

Graham was born and raised in St Helens, Merseyside and after completing his studies in Manchester he joined Ernst Young to train as a Chartered Accountant.

Graham relocated to Leeds in 1985 to become a partner in John Gordon Walton & Co, who had a proud tradition of supporting local charitable organisations.

Graham first met Duncan Walker, Heart Surgeon, at a fundraising event in 1987.

He was so impressed by Duncan’s undiluted passion for his work and the heart unit at the old Killingbeck Hospital, he accepted Duncan’s invitation to take a look round the unit and meet his team.

It was clear that Duncan had ambitious long-term fundraising plans to support the heart unit and its patients. It was also clear that he needed to create a formal structure to fulfill his vision.

On the 13th of September 1988, Duncan Walker, Graham Berks, and Patrick Spens came together to form the charitable trust known today as Children’s Heart Surgery Fund.

Graham said:

“I became a founder trustee as I hoped I could make a difference.”

“My motives were simple. I wanted to do whatever I could to support those whose passion, drive and dedication to their work, made the paediatric heart unit such a successful, important and vital offering to the community.”

“The charity was created to serve the heart unit and the community and has continued to do so through thick and thin for 30 years.”

“The trustees, the charity staff, and volunteer fundraisers have worked together to deliver a truly remarkable support mechanism for what is, after all, a truly remarkable facility.”

In 2018, Graham and CHSF celebrate 30 years together. For Graham, this will be his last year as a trustee, as he is planning to step down at the end of the year. He won’t step too far away though and will be continuing to support the charity from the sidelines.

“My retirement at the end of the year, whilst sad, is also satisfying. The trust has come a long way and it has been wonderful to be part of the journey as I look back and realise that perhaps I did make a difference after all.”

At Children’s Heart Surgery Fund, we wanted to take this opportunity thank all our trustees and those who’ve been with us since the beginning of our journey, like Graham.

#BecauseOfYou – we’re here to celebrate 30 years of supporting hearts for life.

Do you have any stories or photos to help us celebrate our 30th anniversary year? Please do get in touch and email them to becauseofyou@chsf.org.uk – we can’t wait to hear from you.