As we reach a new month, MAY we say a huge well done and thank you to the Dixon and Mantle families for all their fundraising!

Both families have a child who has been treated at the Leeds Congenital Heart Unit and they wanted to do something to give back and say thank you to the people who saved their children’s lives.

Back in February, Jonathan Dixon and Catriona Mantle held a charity dinner and here is a little bit about their amazing families and their fundraising story.

Leo was born on 15th March 2014 at 37 weeks at a tiny 3lbs 4ozs after a difficult final stage of pregnancy.


Leo was in the special care unit when it was discovered that he had a hole in his heart – a VSD (Ventricular Septal Defect) and he needed a life saving operation at Leeds Children’s Hospital.


The surgeons would only operate when he weighed 10 pounds so in October 2014, after a six month wait, Leo underwent six hours of open heart surgery to repair the hole. The operation was a success and Leo was monitored carefully for the coming months.


Leo is now nearly six and is a junior school. He an active little boy and his doctors are happy with his progress.


We are amazingly grateful for the incredible work of the surgeons and without the support of Children’s Heart Surgery Fund Leo may not be with us today.

“Without the support of Children’s Heart Surgery Fund Leo may not be with us today.”

Bonnie and her twin sister Maggie made a surprise early arrival at just 27 weeks, both weighed a tiny 2lbs 3 ozs and spent 9 weeks in special baby care at both Leeds and Harrogate hospitals.


Whilst both girls were tiny and poorly, Bonnie seemed to be struggling more. The doctors discovered at just a week old her heart was pumping blood into her lungs instead of round her body and after failing to respond to the treatment, she needed surgery to close the vein responsible.


She had a PDA ligation at just a month old – when she still weighed less than 3 pounds! Just days after surgery she was a different baby and started to catch up with her sister. At age two she was discharged from Leeds and described as ‘normal’ – such an amazing feeling!


Bonnie and Maggie are six now and apart from a tiny scar you’d never know what they’ve been through – total miracles!


The doctors and nurses at Leeds Children’s Hospital were just truly amazing, the care and support we received was incredible. The support that Children’s Heart Surgery Fund give really makes the difference to families going through such a difficult time.

“The support that CHSF give really makes the difference to families going through such a difficult time.”

Jonathan and Catriona said:

Having experienced first-hand the terrifying experience of having your baby go through heart surgery, we wanted the opportunity to give a little back.


We decided to hold a charity ball – a black tie dinner – great excuse for everyone to get dressed up, have a night out and raise some money for an amazing cause.


We asked the pair if they had any advice they would give to future CHSF fundraisers?

Arrange an event that you’re going to enjoy! It’s great to raise money for charity – but with life being so busy you have to enjoy doing it and look forward to the event!


Don’t worry about the little things – nobody else will notice! Reach out to friends, colleagues – it’s amazing how many people want to help out either through their time, or offering raffle prizes, IT support etc!


Lisa at CHSF was a great support both in the lead up and at the event. It really helped remind everyone why we were getting together, to raise money for such an amazing cause.

Senior Community Fundraising Manager, Lisa said:

Jonathon & Catriona really did organise the most fantastic event.


They put so much hard work, time and effort in to make their Charity Dinner for CHSF a huge success.


Held at Priory Barn & Cottages, the venue looked amazing and the evening was packed with entertainment, auctions and prizes – all to support Children’s Heart Surgery Fund. We were blown away with the overall total raised and the fact that they went above and beyond to raise awareness and funds for the charity means so much to CHSF.


Thank you to everyone who attended and donated at the dinner. Because of you we can continue to do the great work we do.

We asked Catriona and Jonathan if there was anything else they would like to add about CHSF…

It’s so difficult having a poorly child and the support that Children’s Heart Surgery Fund provides just makes so much difference.


For us it was the use of Eckersley House, the parent accommodation near to Leeds Children’s Hospital.


Being able to stay so close to our babies whilst they were poorly – but the care and a friendly ear is just invaluable at a time when you’re so vulnerable.

We really are so very grateful to Jonathan, Catriona and all their friends, family and colleagues who attended the charity dinner.

The evening raised an absolutely phenomenal £15,187 for Children’s Heart Surgery Fund – we are blown away by this incredible fundraising! Thank you!

Feeling inspired?

The CHSF team are on hand to talk through any fundraising ideas you might have. Give us a call on 0113 831 410 or email

Already have an idea? You can register to fundraise using this form here!